CAPE BRETON, NS, Mar 18 ( – Sociologist Katherine Covell and political scientist R. Brian Howe of the University College of Cape Breton are pushing the idea of requiring parents to have a license to have children. In this week’s Alberta Report, an article by the pair in a fall edition of Policy Options magazine is exposed. In “A Policy of Parent Licensing,” Covell and Howe argue that “from a children’s rights perspective, parenting is a privilege and not a right.”

The professors say that since Canada signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child the government’s job is to ensure parents comply with their children’s rights. To get a license,  “parents should have demonstrated ability to be responsible for their own lives before being allowed to assume responsibility for a child’s life.” Further, parents must sign a contract not to abuse or neglect (as defined by the government), which if violated will mean removal of the children. Finally a state-approved parenting course must be completed.

Psychologist Mark Genuis, executive director of Canada’s National Foundation for Family Research and Education, says that parent licensing assumes the incompetence of parents and would be a “well-intentioned mistake.” According to Genuis, over-zealous social workers are “destroying the confidence of parents to trust in their instincts in raising children.”