Children's Rights Bill proposes ban on spanking

'Every school teacher, parent, or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction towards a pupil or child as the case may be who is under his care if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances,' states Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Children's Rights Bill proposes ban on spanking
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On February 14, members of Parliament voted 208 to 115 in favour of advancing a children's rights bill during its Second Reading. The proposed legislation seeks to outlaw spanking within households. Critics, including opponents from the New Democrat party, argue that the bill constitutes unwanted federal interference in family affairs.

Conservative MP Damien Kurek (Battle River-Crowfoot, Alberta) expressed concerns, stating, "We have seen attempts time and time again to diminish the role played not only by parents but also by the family as a fundamental building block of society. Any attempt to see that diminished would be wrong. We can see the implications of this."

Bill C-273, titled "An Act To Amend The Criminal Code," aims to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code. This section currently states:

Every schoolteacher, parent, or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction towards a pupil or child as the case may be who is under his care if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.

NPD MP Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby, B.C.), who sponsored the bill, remarked, "Countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia still permit the physical punishment of children." He added that his own parents "believed very strongly that physical punishment was not justified."

During the Second Reading debate, Julian added that being in that family was a blessing, and he hopes we can raise all children in the same manner.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, the bill is now heading to the Commons Justice Committee for hearings. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated, "Our government is committed to safeguarding children's physical safety everywhere."

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation opposed the bill, with Bloc MP Luc Desilets (Rivière-des-Mille-Iles, Quebec), a former school principal, expressing complete opposition. He stated, "I am of course completely opposed. If I had to put something like this to my teachers, things would not go well. We are talking about reining in children in a school environment like we do when they are running amok and have to be stopped."

Bloc MP Rhéal Fortin argued that reasonable force allowed by the Criminal Code is essential for disciplining children. "There are many examples showing that words, hugs and sweetness are not enough to discipline a child," he stated.

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