Are you aware of possible change to spanking law?

Trudeau has pledged to adopt all recommendations from Truth and Reconciliation Commission

By Cam Fortems

Kamloops This Week

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod said Canadians deserve to be consulted before the Liberal government removes a section of the Criminal Code that allows parents to spank their kids.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to adopt all recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

One of those recommendations calls for removal the section of the Criminal Code that allows spanking, or corporal punishment, within strict limits.

“It’s one of the recommendations I thought needed a broader Canadian conversation,” McLeod told KTW.

She doesn’t believe Canadians are broadly aware a ban on spanking is contained in the report on Indian residential schools.

Kamloops lawyer Sheldon Tate has defended a number of parents accused of going too far with corporal punishment and veering into assault.

“If they remove the defence [section 43], any application of force would amount to an assault,” Tate said.

Under the law, a child cannot consent to spanking.

A simple slap on the behind to a toddler in a public place could result in charges if the Criminal Code is changed, Tate said.

Police and the Crown would have discretion on whether to press ahead with an investigation and bring charges.

Tate said he could also see problems in the years ahead if children grow up and claim their parents spanked them when they were minors.

Kamloops Roman Catholic Bishop David Monroe said he would not counsel corporal punishment, favouring “instruction over destruction.”

He recalled a time as a child when his younger brother cut a hole in his bedspread to make a tent.

The punishment from his father involved his brother learning to use a needle and thread to repair the damage.

McLeod said the Liberal government has said little about the issue.

“I’m concerned they’re not going to have that debate,” she said.