Mourning Rehtaeh Parsons

rehtaeh-parsonsWe attended the vigil in Halifax for teenager Rehtaeh Parsons last week.  It was good to see Premier Darrell Dexter and PC Leader Jamie Baillie in attendance. They were there to mourn, to listen, to send a prayer. They were there more as fathers than as politicians.

It was comforting to hear their words in the Legislature as well. Thus far, it looks as if the opposition will work with the government on taking action on a number of fronts, especially violence against women and cyber-bullying/cyber-assault. Bipartisan progress far out-weighs any points gained by political posturing.

Marilyn More, the minister responsible for the Status of Women, and a Dartmouth MLA, also attended the vigil.  She will lead the government’s response, which includes a number of provincial departments:

  • Education and early childhood development
  • Justice
  • Community services
  • Health

Choosing More is a sound decision by the NDP. More is a wise and experienced leader, used to an inclusive approach on issues. She will also bring a feminist voice to the government’s work.

Darrell Dexter: Nova Scotia is mourning the loss of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young girl who has touched the lives of people all across the province, and around the world. I wanted to reach out to the members of this House and to all Nova Scotians to assure people that I will do everything in my power to create a community that is equipped to prevent these situations, rather than a community that struggles to find a way to deal with them.

Jamie Baillie: I know that many if not all of us in this House, in addition to being politicians, are also moms and dads, grandfathers and grandmothers, and so we are all affected, like all other Nova Scotians are, in a very personal way. I had this very talk with my own two daughters, last night at bedtime and again this morning, as they see the front page of The ChronicleHerald and they see the evening news. This is a discussion that is going on in my house about what can be done to protect people in the future who were in the circumstances of Rehtaeh Parsons and I believe it’s a discussion that’s going on in every household, by every mom and dad, with their own kids.