Is it really possible that spanking children is still legal in Canada? Yes. As recently as 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada permitted the use of "reasonable" physical force on children over the age of two, provided said force did not involve any implements or blows to the child's head.
Anything else goes, both for educators and for parents. Yikes.
Section 43 of the Criminal Code is a law Trudeau's Liberals hope to repeal as part of their pledge to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which documented the history of physical abuse inside Indian residential schools.
While it's unlikely that parents would actually be prosecuted for spanking their kids, isn't it high time we ditched a law condoning physical abuse of children? After all, gauging what is and isn't "reasonable" force is pretty arbitrary.
When a child is spanked, the parent is usually angry and often more force is used than the parent would otherwise intend.
It happened to me and it probably happened to you, too. Just because many of us were physically disciplined as children is not a sufficient justification for us to perpetuate this behaviour with our own kids.
We may have survived it, yes, but hopefully along the way we learned as parents in our own right that there are better ways to teach our children discipline without instilling fear through violence.
The main argument, though, is not about spanking itself; it's whether the government has the right to tell us how to parent. Maybe not, but the government does have a right - even a duty - to protect its youngest, most vulnerable citizens.
“Do we want to live in a country that, in fact, defines when and how to hit children?" asks Kathy Lynn, chair of a BC-based organization called Corinne’s Quest that opposes spanking. "That is just appalling.”
As parents, it's not our right to hit our kids. It is our kids' right not to be hit by anyone, especially not by the most trusted adults in their lives.