Speaking Up

My vote for Ottawa’s Father of the Year? Allan Hubley

There’s nobody anywhere – ever – just like dad. He of the broad shoulders and scratchy chin has a one-of-a-kind place in a family. Usually, it’s a special, loving, nurturing place.

For some families it’s an empty place, with nobody to fill the spot. But if luck and circumstance cooperate, somebody caring steps up to take on a paternal role – whether it’s a family friend, relative, teacher, coach, or a Big Brother.

Certainly a dad’s impact is profound. That’s why, this Sunday, families all over the city will be marking Father’s Day. There will be burnt toast and giggling in kitchens, orange juice slopped over breakfast trays, perennials picked from gardens and construction-paper cards decorated with sequins that have been made at school.

Dads will open tissue paper to discover socks and ties and fishing lures or golf balls from the dollar store and they will oooh and aaah as though they are uncovering precious treasure.

Because that’s what dads do.


Dads will be hugged and kissed, knuckle-knocked and high-fived for serving as chauffeur, helping with homework, coaching sports teams or opening their arms when wee knees get scraped.

Because that’s what dads do.


Dads show the way via the choices they make and the things they do. And I can’t think of any dad in Ottawa more deserving of Father’s Day Father of the Year honours than Allan Hubley.

As community role models go, he’s extraordinary.

That’s no secret.

In 2007, the councillor for Kanata South was the City of Ottawa’s Citizen of the Year.
In 2008, he received the Caring Canadian Award for his community and volunteer work.
Over past year, he has set an example for all of us to follow.

There’s a lot to learn from this dad.

In May – just last month – he was honoured with a United Way Ottawa Community Builder of the Year Award for his outstanding leadership and public contribution.  More specifically, the accolade was called the Speak Up Award and it recognized Hubley’s “courage in elevating awareness about the impact of bullying and the need for effective suicide prevention measures.”

Courage indeed.

We all know about the death of his son Jamie last fall. When the 15-year-old Kanata student committed suicide in October, it made the headlines all over. Jamie was gay and had been a victim of bullying.

After he died, his father spoke up and spoke out. Allan Hubley stood up for his son, for change, for tolerance, and for all the kids who need support and acceptance but don’t get it.
It was a rallying cry.

In February, over 40 organizations came together for the first Suicide Prevention Summit in Ottawa, a United Way Ottawa news release notes. “Because of Councillor Hubley’s efforts, many local schools and organizations have also established clubs, committees and other supportive forums where young people can discuss bullying, discrimination and harassment and find ways to foster acceptance, compassion and understanding of others.”
His impact doesn’t end there.

Councillor Hubley is also 2012 Honorary Chair for the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation and will be actively participating in the dragon boat festival at Mooney’s Bay June 22 to 24. There’s every reason to support him.

The fundraising goal is $500,000 and the top tier charity benefiting from this year’s fest is the Ottawa Youth Services Bureau (YSB).

It’s a cause close to Allan Hubley’s heart. The non-profit agency provides services and programs to assist at-risk youths and their families. They include a variety of mental health supports, from a 24/7 crisis line to counselling to a youth mental health walk-in clinic.

As honorary chair, this dad is doing his part – and then some – to ensure when young people reach out for help, it’s there for them.

As parents, that’s what we all should do. Hopefully we will.

Happy Father’s Day, Allan Hubley
You’re pretty amazing. Your kid would be proud.

Who’s your vote for Ottawa’s Father of the Year?  Let’s Talk.

Pam Dillon

Reach me at Pam@coylepublishing.com.
Follow Ottawa Family Living at @OttawaFamily.
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