OTTAWA, January 20, 2004 ( – The right of parents to use spanking as a form of discipline is in question as the Supreme Court will release its ruling on a case challenging the law January 30. The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law (CFCYL), a group of anti-corporal punishment extremists used tax-payer monies to challenge Section 43 of the Criminal Code which provides that the use of force by parents (and teachers) by way of correction toward a child may be justified if it does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances. The section provides an exception to what would otherwise constitute criminal assault for the use of force against another. 

The case has many pro-family advocates concerned since the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case despite the fact that the lower courts unanimously agreed that the law allowing parents to use spanking as a form of reasonable discipline did not contravene the constitution. 

Moreover, the government lawyer defending the law offered only a lame defense. 

Government lawyer Roslyn Levine suggested that government warnings that spanking is ineffective and to be avoided “is more apt to change parental practices than threatening people with assault convictions.”

“The criminal law is a blunt instrument,” she said. “Changing the criminal law does not necessarily change attitudes.” 

However, a coalition of conservative groups calling themselves the Coalition for Family Autonomy argued in support of parents using “reasonable” corporal punishment in the discipline of their children. The Coalition included, The Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA), REAL Women of Canada, Canada Family Action Coalition, and Focus on the Family. 

See related LifeSite coverage:  

Study Finds Spanking Is Not Harmful


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