Time to Ditch Spanking Law, Say Doctors, Calling It Excuse for Poor Parenting

Article excerpt

Time to ditch spanking law, say doctors

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OTTAWA - The Canadian Medical Association Journal says it's time to do away with the Criminal Code's so-called spanking law.

A strongly worded editorial in the journal Tuesday calls for the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code, which gives parents and teachers a legal defence when they physically discipline children.

"It is time for Canada to remove this anachronistic excuse for poor parenting from the statute book," editor-in-chief John Fletcher wrote in a signed editorial.

The editorial will likely reignite debate on a controversial topic that has inflamed opinion for decades.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Criminal Code provision by a 6-3 margin in a landmark 2004 ruling.

The high court ruled that the provision did not infringe a child's right to security of the person under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Several private members' bills to ban corporal punishment have failed in the House of Commons and Senate, most recently in 2008.

In the editorial, Fletcher argues that parents need to be educated on how to discipline their children.

He said the Criminal Code needs to be amended because it tells parents that physical punishment is an acceptable way to discipline children.

"Although it is not necessary to make spanking a crime to encourage alternative approaches to parenting, Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada sends the wrong message, stating, '. …

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