Canada has ignited its debate on spanking and parental rights—again. Blacklock’s Reporter reported that Senator James Munson (Ont.), a liberal politician, has proposed a ban on spanking because he believes that with more families home during the COVID-19 pandemic, more kids could be subject to not just abuse but getting spanked—two decidedly different things. A bill that banned spanking was proposed a couple years ago but lapsed in the Senate. Of all the things going on now, speaking is the least of an elected body’s concern. Parental rights must retain authority always but especially in a crisis such as this.
Munson is trying to co-opt a crisis and use it for political gain to push a bill that would further harm parental rights, something that’s already at risk in Canada. “Reasonable force to inflict pain on a child seems to still be okay in this country,” he told the Senate’s social affairs committee.
“Fifty-four countries have banned it, fifty-six countries have said they’re willing to ban it. To me, it makes us look like a nation we shouldn’t be when we are talking about the care of a child.”
Let’s pretend for a moment this is about spanking. Spanking a child as a means of discipline out of love—not anger—and in a controlled environment is not abuse. If a parent is truly abusing the child, there are avenues for redress and of course no child should be abused. Advocates of spanking are not advocating for abuse but for a form of controlled discipline. More worrisome is how this bill would be enforced. That’s where the authority of parents comes into play and begins to falter.
Canada’s 2004 Supreme Court case on spanking—and their decision to uphold spanking as constitutional—demonstrated this problem. In their 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code that allows parents and school teachers to spank. It ruled that reasonable corrective force can be used against children between the ages of two and 12 years old but did place parameters around spanking.
Like many bills politicians try to revive or pass, it’s hard to believe this is really about spanking a child rather than a politician trying to use the state as a tool to destroy the family, particularly through the avenue of parental authority, and turn children into puppets of the state. The less the parent can do to and for the child, the more the child can turn to the state for guidance.
This does not mean parents should have the right to abuse their children—of course not. But the state has no business telling parents how to discipline their children and I can’t conceive, for the life of me, why a politician would make it his business to intervene in this way unless there was some political capital to be gained by this.
Canada has already tiptoed into the waters of stripping parents of their natural rights as it relates to their children. This father refused to recognize his daughter as she tried to transition to male through testosterone and a court said he was participating in an “act of violence.” Parental rights must retain authority for families to stay intact. Canada’s lawmakers need to stop intervening. After all, mothers—and fathers—know best.