OTTAWA, May 18 ( – In a split vote the Heritage Committee decided against allowing Parliamentarians to review Canada’s report to the UN regarding child rights. The report is scheduled to be sent to the international organization in the near future. Official Opposition Critic for families, Eric Lowther, condemned the committee’s commitment to secrecy, objecting that “the Heritage Committee said ‘no’ to an opportunity for greater accountability.”

During the current term of parliament alone petitions carrying the signatures of 13,000 Canadians concerned about the implications of the child rights convention on parental authority and family solidarity have been submitted to Parliament. The 1999 report will be the second compliance update report Canada has given to the UN. They are due every five years. Following its review of Canada’s first report, the international agency condemned Canada for continuing to permit the use of corporal punishment by parents.

Pro-family Canadians are particularly concerned that the Convention grants very young children absolute “rights” which they are too young to exercise responsibly. According to Lowther’s press release, “The Convention guarantees children virtually any literature or information, written or oral (Art. 13), open-ended “freedom of association” (Art. 15), “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (Art. 14), and an absolute “right to privacy” (Art. 16).”