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Domestic CP - December 2015

Corpun file 26250 at

Moose Jaw Times Herald, Saskatchewan, 23 December 2015, p.A4


Spanking is worthy discipline

Press cutting

Once upon a time, the wooden spoon was one of the most feared and intimidating tools a parent could possess. A simple mention of the object would terrify any child.

Included in that same long-ago time period was that lonely, embarrassing and nervous walk to the principal's office after an unfortunate incident at school. After all, a trip to the principal's den could mean receiving the dreaded strap. "The what?" kids of today will ask. That's because these days the term 'discipline' is as close to extinct as the dinosaurs. It's forbidden, it's taboo and it's cruel and unusual punishment. How dare today's children of any age receive a 'No' as an answer, be scolded by an authority figure, or Heaven forbid, have their rear end tanned.

But if the Liberal government has its way, those of you who still spank your child may be committing a criminal act.

On Monday, it was announced that Justin Trudeau's government plans to repeal a section of the Criminal Code that protects parents and teachers who use spanking and other 'reasonable' force against children. The Liberals promised to implement all 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission connected to the controversial residential school system. Included among them was to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

"The commission believes that corporal punishment is a relic of a discredited past and has no place in Canadian schools or homes," the TRC wrote in its final report.

Though the discussion is very preliminary and appropriate consultation hasn't been explored to this point, the wheels have certainly been put in motion on this subject.

We believe the possible implementation of a universal law telling moms and dads how to parent -- and perhaps discipline -- their children would be a wrong move. Not only is effective parenting of no business to the federal government, but it would be near impossible to police.

Disciplining a misbehaving child is a worthwhile action for a parent and a valuable lesson learned for a child. Spanking a child has been a common and effective form of discipline in many homes around the world for several decades. It's something that should continue well into the future.

The Supreme Court of Canada thinks so. In 2004, it upheld the 'spanking law', ruling that physical force could be used by parents and teachers on children between the ages of two and 12 years old. Included in that was language that described the type and degree of force that could be used, saying that physical objects such as belts or rulers could not be used and that a child could not be struck on the head.

And let's give today's children credit -- they're fully aware of the fact teachers and parents couldn't strike them without receiving disciplinary action of their own. Perhaps this is why we hear more frequently stories of misbehaving children at school, in the mall, at restaurants.

We're not saying spanking a child is the only means of discipline. Speaking to a child and explaining the rules and consequences in a way they can comprehend should always be the first approach. However, the element of fear that a spanking may come at some point should be present in a child's mind. A spanking may never materialize, and that's just fine. But the option needs to be alive.

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