Bill to protect Canadian children’s rights tabled in the House of Commons

Corinne’s Quest

Suite 1805, 719 Princess Street • New Westminster BC Canada V3M 6T9 • 1-604-258-9074 • www.corinnesquest.ca

News Release

For Immediate Release May 19, 2022

Bill to protect Canadian children’s rights tabled in the House of Commons

Canada’s premier organization which advocates for an end to legalized hitting of children is delighted that the federal New Democratic Party has tabled a bill to ban the practice.

“Today is a great day for the rights of Canada’s children,” said Kathy Lynn, chair of Corinne’s Quest, a national organization dedicated to repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code.

“Section 43 protects parents and others who hit children in the name of discipline. More than 63 countries worldwide have banned the practise, and Canada is not among them.

“We recently heard from the federal Minister of Justice that the Liberal government is seeking the best way to remove the section from the law. We recommend they move quickly to implement Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action Number 6, which calls for repeal of this section.”

“Many Canadians believe s.43 protects children from harm. In fact, it does nothing of the sort. It justifies use of force and provides a defense for those who do.

…2

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 CQ’s position

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

slaves, servants, apprentices, prisoners, dogs,

wives, and

children.
In today’s Canada, only children are still on that list.

“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 an inappropriate 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.

– 30–
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

NDP Bill to prohibit corporal punishment against children in Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAY 19, 2022

 

NDP BILL TO PROHIBIT CORPORAL PUNISHMENT åAGAINST CHILDREN IN CANADA

 

OTTAWA  – Today, NDP House Leader Peter Julian, MP (New Westminster-Burnaby) tabled Bill C-273, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Corinne’s Quest and the protection of children), to repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code that permits physical punishment of children in Canada. Every single child in Canada should have the care and opportunities that they need to succeed and thrive – without exception.

 

Bill C-273 is seconded by NDP MP Lori Idlout (Nunavut), and would amend the Criminal Code to end all physical punishment of Canada’s children. Corinne’s Quest was formed in 2014 in honour of Corinne Robertshaw, a lawyer who dedicated her life to seeking to repeal Section 43.

 

It is still legal in Canada for parents and legal representatives to physically assault their children under certain circumstances.  Parents can use « reasonable force » for purposes of correction. Teachers can also use « reasonable force » depending of the context. It is the judge that has the last word in deciding whether or not the use of force is acceptable.

 

Kathy Lynn, chair of Corinne’s Quest which is dedicated to the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code believes it is finally time to give Canada’s children the same protection against assault which is enjoyed by all its citizens. “Violence against children should be against the law, not defined by it,” stated Lynn.

 

“Corinne’s Quest continues to advocate on behalf of children. A special thanks to Kathy and John Lynn who are constituents of mine in New Westminster—Burnaby, who are really shepherding the push to ban physical punishment of children and repeal section 43. I hope that all members of Parliament will support this important legislation”, said MP Julian.

 

Physical punishment on children have severe consequences. Sweden was the first country to ban it in 1979. Today, 63 countries have banned physical punishment of children, and Canada still lags behind.

 

The NDP is committed to taking meaningful action in the fight to protect children and their right from being harmed by their parents and legal representatives. Bill C-273 will ensure that our children are safer under the law of Canada. New Democrats call on the Liberal government to adopt the clear measures in this bill and put an immediate end to the corporal punishment of all children in Canada.

 

 

 

Webinar worth watching

The Canadian Coalition for the rights of children and youth, a group of academics who have extensive material to back up the concept that physical punishment does harm and fails as a means of discipline. They recently had a webinar and that can be seen at  https://rightsofchildren.ca/resources/ (it’s the first one webinar) or here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Xss8AoZpPSEr. It was presented by Joan Durrant & Valerie Michaelson, and titled  Canada’s Children Deserve Protection from Violence: A Call to Action.

Child Mental Health Issues Can Begin Over the Knees of their Parents

Corinne’s Quest 

Suite 1805, 719 Princess Street • New Westminster BC Canada V3M 6T9 • 1-604-258-9074 • www.corinnesquest.ca

News Release

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

CQ’s position

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 

slaves, 

servants, 

apprentices, 

prisoners, 

dogs, 

wives, and 

children. 

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.

  • 30 –

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

Minster of Justice has missed the boat in dealing with family violence

Minister of Justice has missed the boat

in dealing with family violence 

Canada’s Minister of Justice has totally missed the point with her attempt to forestall domestic violence in Canadian families, according to a leading advocate for children’s safety.

“Where does the Justice Minister think young men suddenly get the idea to beat the hell out of their wives and girlfriends?” asks Kathy Lynn, chair of Corrine’s Quest, a campaign devoted to repealing Section 43, Canada’s spanking law.

“The idea of using violence to solve conflicts is first learned across a parent’s knee, when parents resort to spanking kids to change their behaviour”, she said.

She says Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s approach is to use further punishment through police, the courts, even the bail system, to change behaviours. That’s much too late. In his role as Minister of Youth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must understand that young Canadians do not suddenly start believing that assault is the answer to frustration, disobedience or differences of opinion. They learn it when they are still kids.

“Using a bigger stick to solve violence problems has never worked,” said Lynn.  “It’s a comforting idea, it gives the impressing you are seriously doing something about the problem, but in fact you are making it worse by invoking the force of governments and the courts.

“We need to be working on the root causes, and the Minister’s reforms don’t do that. Little Johnny gets hit regularly and legally at home by his parents, so he learns that violence is an appropriate response to anger. He continues this behaviour into adulthood with his girlfriend. But suddenly it’s illegal. Makes no sense whatsoever.

Section 43 of the Criminal Code permits parents to strike children aged 2 to twelve “for correction”, and also offers parents a defence in law if they are charged with assault.

Lynn said Senate bill s.206, presented by Senator Murray Sinclair who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, offers a ready-to-go solution to the problem of repealing s.43.  The TRC’s sixth Call to Action also called for repeal.

For more information you can go to the article:Domestic Violence Starts Over the Knees of Parents

 

Canada’s Best Kept Secret

Canada’s Best Kept Secret

Today is National Child Day.  Did you know that? No, it’s our best kept secret. Last year the Prime Minister made a statement. But I can’t find one this year so let’s look back.

Social Media Posting on the Prime Minister’s Statement National Child Day.
In 2016,  Prime Minister Trudeau posted a statement on National Child Day.  Good for him for recognizing this often forgotten day. Among other comments he says that children deserve “to be raised in an environment that is free of violence.
He also notes that “the world has made significant progress in advancing children’s rights since the introduction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
I am so pleased to see this statement because we know that in order to raise children free of violence the government needs to Repeal s43 of the criminal code which specifically permits the hitting of children.
We also know that Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention but because of the presence of s43 in our Criminal Code we are not currently in compliance with the Convention.
And taking a look from another perspective, the 6th Call to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asks for Repeal.
So, let’s do it.

 

What happens when discipline goes awry?

Sometimes child discipline goes awry
and a small child ends up in the morgue.

By Kathy Lynn

Dr. Charles Ferguson, an eminent pediatrician from Winnipeg and one of Canada’s leading child-abuse experts, used to say to me that all too often children end up in the hospital because of “discipline gone awry.” The most horrific cases end up in the morgue.

The body of toddler Anthony Joseph Raine, found in a snowbank near a church in Edmonton recently, is just such a case. He was dead when he was found, and his body was covered in bruises. His father and the father’s girlfriend have been charged with second-degree murder.

In Canada we have a law which permits assaults on children, our most vulnerable citizens, up to the point where that assault crosses an ill-defined and highly subjective line. In some cases as in the case of young Anthony, it ends in death.

Section 43 of our Criminal Code says:

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.

This section of the Criminal Code is duplicitous in that it not only instructs the perpetrators of violence against children on just how violent they can be, it then offers them a defense when they do so. Violence against children should be against the law, not defined by it.

I lead an organization called Corinne’s Quest which is dedicated to the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code because it is barbaric, it denies our children the basic human right to safety and security the rest of us enjoy, and it is based on some neanderthal notion from our distant past that says hitting a child is a responsible way of teaching them right from wrong.

Thirteen years ago the constitutionality of Section 43 was challenged in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, then through the Ontario Court of Appeal and finally on to the Supreme Court of Canada. Astonishingly, the Supreme Court found that beating a child did not infringe his/her human rights, if the beating was done in just the right way. The court’s split decision resulted in a judicial narrowing of the nature of the beatings Canadian children can now legally receive.

The Court set out a series of judicial limitations to assist in the interpretation of the justifiable or so-called “reasonable” limits of corporal punishment. Those judicial limitations (which again don’t appear in the Criminal Code) are as follows:

  • Only parents may use reasonable force, and solely for purposes of correction;
  • Teachers may use reasonable force only to remove a child from a classroom or secure compliance with instructions, but not merely as corporal punishment;
  • Corporal punishment cannot be administered to children under two or teenagers;
  • The use of force on children of any age incapable of learning from [it] because of

disability or some other contextual factor is not protected;

  • Discipline using objects or blows or slaps to the head is unreasonable;
  • Degrading, inhuman or harmful conduct is not protected, including conduct that raises a reasonable prospect of harm;
  • Only minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature may be used;
  • The physical punishment must be corrective, which rules out conduct stemming from the caregiver’s frustration, loss of temper or abusive personality;
  • The gravity of the precipitating event is not relevant; and
  • The question of what is “reasonable under the circumstances requires an objective test and “must be considered in context and in light of all the circumstances of the case.”

These are now the court-ordered rules on how you can legally beat children in Canada. On the second birthday of her twins, my daughter wryly observed to me that under Canadian law they were now old enough to be beaten.

Dr. Fergusson’s observation about discipline gone awry makes the point. Invariably, parents who strike their children says it is for purposes of discipline, and it may well be. The point is, it is absolutely the wrong way to discipline children. We cannot give parents carte blanche to whack their children and then act surprised when they go too far and the child is physically hurt or killed.

There are 52 countries around the world who have banned all physical punishment of children. Why don’t we join them? After all, we have banned executions and physical punishments in prisons. What if we decided to give children the same human rights as all other citizens and ban all legal assault no matter what the age of the child?

It’s time. This is not a big step.  Most Canadians today agree that it’s time to repeal S43 of the Criminal Code. It’s time to end the family violence caused by the right to assault children. It’s easy. Repeal S43 of the Code and at the same time implement the 6th Call to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

May, 2017


 

Russian law permits family beatings; are they so different from Canada’s laws?

Many Canadians reacted in horror earlier this month on learning that the Russian parliament had approved a law making it legal to assault family members.

According to a survey, 19 per cent of Russians said it can be acceptable to hit one’s wife, husband or child in certain circumstances. In 2013 more than 9,000 Russian women were reported to have been killed in domestic violence, and critics argue this new law could encourage an even greater level of family violence.

The Russian Orthodox Church authorities believe “the reasonable and loving use of physical punishment is an essential part of the rights given to parents by God himself”.

But Canadians need to re-think their reaction of outrage at this news. Canada also has a law on the books which not only permits family violence, it provides legal protection for the person who commits the violence.

It’s called Section 43 of the Criminal Code.  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.”

“We firmly believe that Violence against children should be against the law, not defined by it”, says Kathy Lynn, who heads up Corinne’s Quest, an organization devoted to repeal of Section 43.

“Canada has had laws which permitted beating

slaves,

servants,

Sailors,

apprentices,

prisoners,

dogs,

wives and

children.

In today’s Canada, only children are still on that list”, she said.

“That’s just wrong.  And it’s not who Canadians are.

“This is not a child discipline issue.  It’s a human rights issue.  All Canadians, whatever their age, deserve the protection of law against violence in any form.

The research is clear. Physical punishment of children carries risk factors for the child including self-esteem problems and future aggressive behaviour.

The point is that we have this antiquated law. It can easily be repealed. It is not necessary in our country.”

Today is Family Day in BC and next Monday, February 20, Family Day will be celebrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. It is a good day to note that children and adults are safe in their homes in our country. Let’s celebrate National Family Day by having our homes be safe refuges for our children.

The federal government simply needs to repeal Section 43 of the criminal code.

Editors:  Contact Kathy Lynn at 604-258-9074 or at Kathy@ParentingToday.ca

 UN Expert on Violence Against Children Applauds France’s Move to Ban Physical Punishment of Children

France has become the 52nd country to ban physical punishment of children.

France now forbids cruel, degrading and humiliating treatment of children by their parents and it makes spanking a civil offence.

Kathy Lynn, chair of Corinne’s Quest, a national campaign to end physical punishment of children in Canada, applauds the decision made in France on behalf of their children.

“Now, our legislators, need to get on board and become the 53rd country to do the right thing for our children,” she said.

Marta Santos Pais, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, said of France’s decision: “It lays the foundation for a culture of respect for children‘s rights; safeguards children’s dignity and physical integrity; and encourages positive discipline and education of children through non-violent means.”

Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but is in contravention of that agreement because Canada still has Section 43 of the Criminal Code on the books which specifically permits assault on children by their parents. It is essential that Canada Repeal s.43 in order to be in compliance with the UN Convention.

Call to Action #6 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asks for the Repeal of S43 and the government has said it will implement the TRC.

“This call to action is an easy one to implement,” said Lynn.  “It requires a simple repeal of that section. Why the hold up when it was promised?

“Is it because our children do not vote and therefore protecting them isn’t a priority? In 2017 shouldn’t our children be protected from all assault in the same way as all other Canadian citizens?”

The research evidence is clear, said Lynn. Spanking can cause kids to become more aggressive and experience mental health issues which can is some cases continue into adulthood. It can impair the parent-child relationship, lead to a lower moral internalization and in some cases to delinquency.

This evidence is clear and compelling — physical punishment of children and youth plays no useful role in their upbringing and poses only risks to their development. The conclusion is equally compelling — parents should be strongly encouraged to develop alternative and positive approaches to discipline.

“It’s time for our Minister of Justice to take a stand on behalf of children and Repeal s.43.”

Prime Minister Trudeau’s renewed commitment to ending violence against children draws strong support from the organization dedicated to repeal of Canada’s ‘spanking law’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has drawn strong support from the organization which has been its strongest critic for not repealing Section 43 of the Criminal Code.

In his statement marking National Child Day on Sunday, Nov. 20, Trudeau said in part, “Each child deserves to be raised in an environment that is free of violence, discrimination and exploitation …”

He went on to note that he and his wife Sophie urge all Canadians to speak to children of all ages about their rights.  He said that though the UN introduced a Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, there is still a lot of work to do to because world-wide, millions of children are being denied basic human rights.

Kathy Lynn, chair of Corinne’s Quest, the leading organization formed to push for repeal of s.43, has sent the Prime Minister a letter thanking him for re-stating the government’s commitment to the right of children to benefit from a violence-free up-bringing. The government last year committed to implementing all of the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action including number six, which calls for repeal of s.43.

This section not only condones violence against children, Lynn said, it also offers legal protections to those who commit the assault.  “Violence against children needs to be prohibited by law, not defined by it.

“In the past Canada has had laws on the books which permitted hitting slaves, servants, sailors, apprentices, prisoners, wives, dogs and children,” said Lynn. “Today, children are the only ones left on that list.

“This government has signaled its support in this area on a number of occasions. It is now time for them to take action,” said Lynn. “Canadian parents are ready for this change.

“it’s an easy fix. Simply introduce a bill which repeals section 43. The government did that last week with Section 159 dealing with with anal intercourse which they admitted also violated basic civil rights.”

Hitting kids as a means of discipline is not a trivial matter,” said Lynn.  “The research is clear; it doesn’t work, and it can cause long-term harm to children, not least of which is teaching them that force and violence are legitimate ways of controlling others.”

She noted that while Canada signed on to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, the UN has had to remind Canada several times that we are out of compliance because of s.43. World-wide, there are now 51 countries which have abolished laws which permit assaulting children. Canada is not on that list.

______________________

 

Prime Minister Trudeau’s National Child Day statement

http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/11/20/statement-prime-minister-canada-national-child-day

Social Media Posting on the Prime Minister’s Statement National Child Day 

I see that Prime Minister Trudeau has posted a statement on National Child Day.  Good for him for recognizing this often forgotten day. Among other comments he says that children deserve “to be raised in an environment that is free of violence.

He also notes that “the world has made significant progress in advancing children’s rights since the introduction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

I am so pleased to see this statement because we know that in order to raise children free of violence the government needs to Repeal s43 of the criminal code which specifically permits the hitting of children.

We also know that Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention but because of the presence of s43 in our Criminal Code we are not currently in compliance with the Convention.

And taking a look from another perspective, the 6th Call to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asks for Repeal.

So, let’s do it.

What a terrific way to respect our nation’s children.