OTTAWA, February 2, 2004 ( – The Supreme Court of Canada has now criminalized following the biblical direction, “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

The original press release from the Supreme Court of Canada on its June 30 ruling in the case seeking to overturn the law permitting parents to use spanking as a form of discipline, failed to mention critical information.  In effect, the Supreme Court has once again donned its activist hat and written law in Canada banning spanking of children under 2 and over 12 and criminalizing it at any age with an implement such as the common ‘wooden spoon’ – effective immediately.  The ruling states: “Generally, s. 43 exempts from criminal sanction only minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature. On the basis of current expert consensus, it does not apply to corporal punishment of children under two or teenagers. . . . Discipline by the use of objects or blows or slaps to the head is unreasonable.”  Gwen Landolt, Vice President of REAL Women Canada, one of the interveners in the case, told in an interview today that while pleased with certain aspects of the ruling she has concerns.  While she stressed that “no one wants children to be abused or hurt” she noted that the ruling seems culturally insensitive particularly for some faith groups which regard use of the hand in spanking as a problem.  Canada Family Action Coalition President, Dr. Charles McVety echoed the sentiments saying, “Many child-rearing experts recommend that the hand should not be used for corrective discipline. Instead an inanimate object, such as a wooden spoon, could be used. However, the child should never be damaged. The hand should be reserved for loving and caring. The Courts have now made criminals of those who obey such logical advice.”  Landolt also wondered if the definitive cut-off dates of 2 and 12 were not more in keeping with political correctness rather than an understanding of child development and family life.  “The 22 month old who is consistently scratching at his newborn brothers eyes, may find reasoned arguments more difficult to follow than a tap on the hand to reinforce a ‘NO’,” was told by a child clinical psychology MA graduate who wished to remain unnamed.  Dr. McVety said, “I applaud the effort to protect children, however, I do not want to see mothers go to jail for using a corrective, non-damaging tap on a 23-month-old child who needs to learn to stay away from danger”.

The Canada Family Action Coalition warned parents in a release saying, the Court’s Citation gives “guidelines” to Canadian judges on how to rule in related cases. “This Citation makes it very clear that the law has been changed and “immunity” from criminal prosecution will no longer be granted if a parent uses non-damaging physical corrective measures on a child under two years of age or over twelve or if an instrument is used at any age.  “Suspiciously, none of these changes to the law were mentioned in the Supreme Court’s press release. Only after reading the lengthy full decision are Canadians realizing that parents are now in danger of criminal prosecution and having their children removed from their custody. These changes are in effect as of January 30th, 2004, so parents must beware.”  Dr. McVety stated “I believe the Supreme Court of Canada has grossly breached democratic principles by not simply interpreting law but rather blatantly rewriting it. These new laws are not mentioned anywhere in Section 43 or any other area of the criminal act. In a democracy, the writing of laws is strictly reserved for elected members of legislatures. No hired or appointed individual should enact laws. That is only found in dictatorships.”