12.21.2015 07:53 AM



“…the federal Liberals have agreed to remove a section of law that allows parents to spank their kids without fear of prosecution.

Groups that oppose corporal punishment of children have spent many years urging successive governments in Ottawa to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code that permits parents and teachers to use reasonable force to correct the behaviour of youngsters in their care.”

This is a watercooler story: notwithstanding anything else that average folks are supposed to be talking about, this is a story they will be talking about.

The police and the Crown always have discretion to determine what charges should be laid, when, and against whom. In the past, they seemingly have had the tools to deal with this issue – see here and here.

So, will this change result in some of your neighbours – some of your family members, or even you – being hauled before a judge? Or will folks be okay with it? Or will no one notice the change at all?

Interesting times. Someone is going to get spanked, to be sure, but not the acting-up five-year-old anymore.



  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    smelter rat says:

    About time. Because it’s 2015.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Matt says:


      If you can’t see the difference between a parent spanking their kid for acting up and the abuse of children that happened in residential schools, I don’t know what to say.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Mark says:

        Fully agree, Matt.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Mapsonburt says:

        And the nanny state “progresses”.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        smelter rat says:

        There is no evidence that spanking a child modifies inapropriate behaviour. However, there are reams of studies that show that disciplining a child is effective. Try and step out of the 50’s. Try to think of hitting a child as being on the lower end of a spectrum, with much worse abuse being on the other end. It is a continuum.

        • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
          Big M says:

          Easy now! Science as advocacy must always be under suspicion. Bringing out “countless studies” does not mean that the terms defined in the studies are consistent. Do they define spanking the same way? What population do they draw sample size from? It is a representative sample? Are the statics done properly? In other words, have the educed results with proper mathematical models? What theoretical framework is the study design trying to support, or challenge? All this to say anytime advocates use science for political means should be taken with caution. I want to see some of these studies. I enjoy this type of analysis. But, I believe nothing of this sort at this time.

          • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
            doconnor says:

            Well science can always be questioned, it should generally condered better evidence then saying that is how we always do it.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Ray says:

        Bravo, Matt.

  2. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Lala says:

    A senator, formerly known as a Liberal, had been championing this for years.


  3. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Matt says:

    And the pussification of society continues.

    Nine times out of ten these Liberal bleeding heart “Don’t spank your children” types don’t even have children so they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Out of all my friends with kids, the most ill behaved, disrespectful little shits are from the hippy-dippy no spank parents.

    This is why we have cases like in the US where an 18 year old spoiled little rich fuck got off after killing 4 people while driving drunk using the “affluenza” defence – His family was too rich and he didn’t know any better because his parents never set boundries for him or disciplined him.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Luke says:

      Yes, the dreaded pussification. Better grown adults man-up and hit their children.

  4. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Peter says:

    We’re all Freudians now. This is the culmination of a steady progression over several generations from viewing children as unformed, selfish emotional blobs to be molded with discipline and (hopefully) love to seeing them born without original sin with psyches as fragile as fresh eggshells and destined to win an Olympic medal or be CEO of Microsoft if only they can live out their inner “whatever” and adults don’t mess them up, including parents. Actually, especially parents. The motivation of many teachers, courts and members of the caring professions is increasingly to save children from their parents and correct their errors. What’s interesting here is that the compromise the SCC worked out that severely restricted corporal punishment to parents in very restricted ways in response to very limited circumstances doesn’t satisfy the ideologues in the caring professions, who continue to regal us with horror stories of things that have been illegal for years.

    But who’s going to come out and publically defend corporal punishment in the abstract? Not I, there be dragons. This will be a case where many Canadians simmer at the experts who know better than they what their children need and silently wish them the joys of trying to rationalize to their toddlers why it’s not nice to kick granny in the knees.

  5. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    dean sherratt says:

    Now in Ontario, a law was changed so that if you have say a vulnerable person (autistic in the case of our family) who becomes violent, the parent may defend themselves but if social workers find out, it is reported to police who will judge whether your defense was sufficiently passive. My youngest son, aged 21, is quite violent and we needed to call the police twice this year and he spent several months in the Civic Hospital Psychiatric Wing to work out his medications. Before that, he would hit my wife and I about 30-40 times a day and I got quite used to grasping his hands, avoiding his kicks and otherwise taking it on the shoulder. There was a certain irony that I felt that I can be hit say 25 times in a day but the police become engaged only if I hit back and let our social worker know.

    We are not dealing with children here but the parallel is interesting.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Peter says:

      That is a very poignant story, and I can only hope you and your wife take some comfort in knowing you are the kind of people who make the world go around. It may not be about children, but it does illustrate why blanket prohibitions and shibboleths like “Parents don’t own their children” can cause real problems in a situation with so many variables and different temperaments. Children don’t just come in one standard model.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      cynical says:

      As grandfather to much-loved autistic child, my heart goes out to you.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        dean sherratt says:

        Thank you both Cynical and Peter…your kind comments were very uplifting especially at this time of year.

  6. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Mark says:

    I was raised in an environment of loving corporal punishment, and I raised my four children the same way. I found that spanking (but never in a time of anger) worked for two of my children, but not the other two. Sometimes time-outs, or taking away toys or electronics, or trying to reason with an 8-year old just don’t work. I am opposed to the state taking this action, and do not believe that everything we have been taught and practiced for hundreds if not thousands of years automatically needs revision because “it’s 2015” or we’ve done more research. In this way, I remain very much a conservative.

  7. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Darren H says:

    As a parent with three kids I can tell you spanking was never used as a punishment in my household. HOWEVER spanking or a good swat on the ass was the best way to get your child’s 100% attention, then the punishment was given, and then the discussion about what led to their punishment. Some may not see the distinction but it’s there. My kids learned quick and swats were very rare. End result is they get awesome grades in school because they have learned to pay attention and behave properly, instead of fucking around like some other kids do. There are (progressive?) kids in their classes who literally act like animals.
    But spanking and hitting sadly get taken too far and there is definitely a place for police and social workers.

  8. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    gyor says:

    There are countless childern who never get spanked & turn out fine, thier is no science backing up claims that spanking childern improves a childs self control, it sure as hell didn’t help mine.

    Affluenza has nothing to do with spanking, it has to do with wealth and power causing a distance between the rich & humanity leading to a lack of empathy and a weaker understanding of consquences and letting someone off the hook for that should have lead to the judge being removed from the bench.

    Spanking should be reserved for consenting adults.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Peter says:

      their (sp) is no science backing up claims that spanking childern improves a childs self control

      Leaving aside the fact that millions of parents aren’t interested in what “science” has to say and don’t appreciate “science” ( a.k.a. the federal government) dictating their child-rearing responsibilities, science has proven to be as protean and ephemeral about child-rearing as it has about how to succeed in marriage. Experts on child-rearing come and go as regularly as diet experts.

      We know what an abused child is and the damage it causes. We also know what a spoiled child is and what messes they can turn out to be. Between these two extremes, which both do overtime as straw men, all is reactive, conflicting confusion.

  9. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    MF says:

    They have to do this if they are going to keep their promises to implement all 94 of the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation commission. This is #6.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Cory says:

      Implementing all the recommendations would rewrite the federation.

  10. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Luke says:

    Hmmm…. So far in my parenting spanking seems unconscionable. However, I have but one child and she is still very small, and she is also very good. I could see it as a very last resort sort of thing, I guess. I have some concern that whatever changes to the law could criminalize valid instances of spanking, or even perhaps invalid instances but ones borne out of great parental frustration that probably should not be considered criminal. So I guess it would come down to the precise wording of the law, its interpretation, and how it is enforced. Because an isolated instance of (debatably) deserved spanking in a child’s upbringing does not constitute child abuse. But regular and violent spanking certainly could.

  11. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Jack D says:


    Here’s the problem, we already have laws prohibiting child abuse. We have protective measures in place to prevent (ideally, anyway) excessive use of force towards children. The current system in place, while it may have flaws, is meant to ensure that children aren’t exposed to violence in there homes and may be removed from that environment if necessary.

    The question is, what will qualify as spanking? Any use of force could essentially fall under this umbrella and could cause a shit storm of competing interpretations. It could also lead to a further over reaching of child-family services that will likely be highly sensitive to any sort of punishment in the home.

    The political problem for the Liberals would be even bigger though. Immigrant communities, such as the one I grew up in, often use spanking (or at least the threat of it) as a deterrent to bad behaviour. In many cases it is even expected for parents/guardians to discipline their children when they are “out of control”. Now, there is a HUGE difference between spanking and downright violence at home. I grew up knowing that if I ever got out of hand, I’d pay for it. Asides from the few times from my mother (which I fully deserved), spanking really wasn’t prevalent in my home growing up. However, the fact the my mother had the option to strike us happening to be a parenting tool for her. If the Liberals attempt to interfere with the parenting techniques of these communities with over reaching legislation it will be seen as a bunch of white, ground-your-kids, hippie parents trying to tell people how to raise their kids.

    Not to mention, this kind of legislation would be near impossible to enforce and would end up causing unnecessary strain on our judicial system with frivolous family disputes being fought out in courts.

    So as a Liberal, I think this is really dumb. There are 99 other things Liberals could do with their time in office, this seems pointless and unwarranted.

  12. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    DC says:

    My problems with spanking are that (a) it can be sexual, even for very young kids, and that’s just too wrong to contemplate so we just don’t consider it; (b) it violates the Golden Rule; (c) kids are the only people against whom violence is still legal, when they should be the ones given the greatest protection. Obviously the average parent doesn’t WANT kids to be harmed by spanking and would automatically stop if they sincerely believed it would. But if it did, how would you know? Kids are all different, and they don’t want to raise such a charged topic and risk being laughed at, dismissed, or punished again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.