Suite 1805, 719 Princess Street • New Westminster BC Canada V3M 6T9 • 1-604-258-9074 • www.corinnesquest.ca
For Immediate Release
Nov. 20, 2019
Child Mental Health Issues Can Begin
Over the Knees of Their Parents
Today, Nov. 20, is National Child Day. It’s the day in 1989 we signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a pledge which we still do not honour.
The UN has repeatedly warned us that Canada remains in violation of this pledge because of Section 43 of our criminal code which still permits and condones assaults on the nation’s children.
Many children today are anxious. They require increased mental health resources to cope with heightened anxiety levels, and part of the problem is domestic violence.
When children are continually struck and spanked as a form of discipline, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behaviour. According to a meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at The University of Texas and the University of Michigan, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties can be attributed to continued spanking.
“it’s to our nation’s shame that we still have this law on the books,” said Kathy Lynn. “Today, 58 countries now have laws which specifically ban physical punishment of children in any way for any reason. I regret to say Canada’s name is not on that list.”
Lynn is the chair of a Corinne’s Quest, a national organization dedicated to protecting childrens’ right to be free from violence in any form. They call for repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code, also known as ‘the spanking law’.
In 2016 Prime Minister Trudeau made a statement strongly supporting National Child Day and made specific reference to protecting the personal security of children. “Since that date CQ has met with the Minister of Justice and have spoken to MPs and Senators and their staff including the PMO to urge them to follow up on the Prime Minister’s statement, to no avail,” said Lynn.
“We know that public sentiment in largely in favour of repeal and most MPs support us as well, but the government has failed to act.”
• The UN and most of the world’s governments are in favour of repeal.
• The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report calls for repeal.
• Most provinces now have laws or policy on the books banning the strap.
• Research overwhelmingly warns of harms to children, including physical injury but also teaching children that violence is a means for dealing with problems.
• Section 43 denies children their basic civil rights.
• Child-serving organizations and professionals including doctors and lawyers have voiced their support for repeal.
What the criminal code says
Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada
Every schoolteacher, 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 the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
R.S.C., 1985, c .C-4
Violence against children should be against the law, not defined by it.
Decades ago in Canada, it wasn’t a criminal assault to physically beat
In today’s Canada, only children are still on that list.
CQ’s request is simple: Repeal Section 43 of the criminal code.
There is no need for replacement legislation, or a re-write of the existing law, or new conditions placed on Section 43. Senator Murray Sinclair has an appropriate draft law for this purpose. Existing laws dealing with the various levels of assault are sufficient, and existing laws also deal effectively with self-defence or protecting a child from harm, or breaking up a schoolyard fight.
This new parliamentary session provides an ideal opportunity for all parties to come together to jointly support a bill to repeal s.43.
For information on Corinne’s Quest, see their website at corinnesquest.ca
For more information you may contact:
Kathy Lynn, chair, at 604-258-9074