Stop Bill S-206! Do Not Criminalize 82% of Canadian Parents

Petition to: Senate of Canada

 

Stop Bill S-206! Do Not Criminalize 82% of Canadian Parents

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Stop Bill S-206! Do Not Criminalize 82% of Canadian Parents

Bill S-206, known as the "anti-spanking bill", poses a serious threat to Canadian parents and the wellbeing of our children. This bill was introduced by liberal senator Céline Hervieux-Payette in 2015. As of June 5th, 2018, it has received second reading and is now being studied by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Bill S-206 would completely eliminate section 43 from the Criminal Code of Canada. Section 43 is a common-sense provision for all parents and teachers. It states:

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

In other words, section 43 allows a parent to parent and a teacher to teach, without worry of undue scrutiny or interference from the police, social services, or the government.

Without section 43, any use of force would be automatically construed as assault. This would include the following:

  • picking up and moving a child to another room
  • stopping a child from doing something he wants to do
  • removing toys or objects from a child's grasp
  • enforcing a time-out
  • stopping a child from leaving his room or leaving his house
  • restraining a child against his will
  • enforcing behaviour with a spank

According to statistics, 82% of Canadian parents will use some form of constructive physical discipline with their pre-teen children (2012). In the US, the figure is 86%.

Conservative senator Raynell Andreychuk states her concerns over Bill S-206: "I remain of the opinion that the consequences of a repeal of section 43 outright may pose significant damage to Canadian families and society, without changes to allow for reasonable measures and appropriate action in law to replace it."

The Canadian Department of Justice states: "Without section 43, parents, caregivers, and teachers could face criminal charges and have to go to court to defend their actions whenever they used force to respond to a child's behaviour."

In a 2004 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld section 43 as constitutional. The court acknowledged the right of parents to use reasonable force in rearing and correcting their children, while condemning genuine abuse. (For more information, see the Department of Justice website.)

While some children's rights advocates decry all forms of corrective force as "harmful abuse", the science says otherwise. According to well-documented studies, the use of corrective force (including "spanking"), has been shown to be a benefit to children. Dr. M. Gunnoe asserts that children who were spanked "performed better than those who weren’t in a whole series of categories, including school grades, an optimistic outlook on life, the willingness to perform volunteer work, and the ambition to attend college."

In countries that instituted "spanking bans", rates of youth violence and crime have skyrocketed. Sweden, which banned all forms of corporal correction in 1979, offers a glaring example of the folly of this approach to child-rearing. (See our report.)

Therefore, it is imperative that we contact our senators and urge them to reject Bill S-206. We must retain section 43 of the Criminal Code just as it is. It is vital that parents be free to parent, and teachers be free to teach, without undue interference from civil authorities.

We at Keep 43 Committee of Canada are working to educate our senators on Bill S-206, and we will deliver this petition to them ahead of a final vote.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

-Keep 43 Committee of Canada website: https://www.keep43.ca/

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Petition to: Senate of Canada

Dear Honourable Senators,

I am very concerned about Bill S-206, which was introduced by former senator Céline Hervieux-Payette.

Bill S-206 proposes the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Section 43 rightly protects Canadian parents and guardians from being charged with criminal assault when exercising a reasonable and prudent amount of force in the ordinary upbringing of their children. There are times when force is required, and section 43 wisely acknowledges this, preempting the unnecessary intrusion of police, social service workers, and the courts into everyday Canadian family life.

Force may be required to quickly remove a child from danger. Force may be required to isolate a child from other children in a bullying or violent situation. Force may be required as a disciplinary measure to discourage inappropriate and harmful behaviours.

Examples of reasonable force are: picking up and moving a child, stopping a child from doing something he wants to do, removing toys or objects from a child's grasp, enforcing a time-out, stopping a child from leaving his room or leaving his house, restraining a child against his will, enforcing behaviour with a spank.

Most parents undertake some or all of these actions - but only when necessary, in genuine love, and for the best interests of their children.

If section 43 is repealed, all of these normal parenting actions are, by default, defined as physical assault. Parents may have their children removed from them, and may have to apply to the courts to defend their actions. This will inevitably cause great trauma to many parents and children, and the needless expenditure of much time, money, and energy.

According to statistics, 82% of Canadian families say they have used or would use minor force upon their children (specifically, "a spank") as a constructive discipline, and typically after other methods have failed to gain compliance.

Basically, the removal of section 43 threatens to criminalize 82% of Canadian parents.

In a 2004 Supreme Court of Canada decision, section 43 was successfully upheld as constitutional, while setting strict boundaries as to the appropriate limits on the use of force on a child. These limits are reasonable and clear, providing guidance to police, social service workers, and the courts. Because of this ruling, section 43 cannot be used as a shield by those who would abuse or assault their children.

There is no benefit to the repeal of section 43, other than to appease a small minority of ideologues who oppose traditional parenting.

I ask you to please uphold this reasonable and common-sense provision in the Criminal Code, protecting Canadian families, parents, and children from needless and costly government intervention.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Stop Bill S-206! Do Not Criminalize 82% of Canadian Parents

Sign this petition now!

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21,056 people have signed. Help us reach 50,000 signatures.