Corporal punishment : understanding the debate in Canada
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There has been considerable debate over whether corporal punishment against children should be prohibited in Canada. Various organizations, most notably the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law, have argued that the Canadian Government should ban the use of corporal punishment by repealing the specific section of the Canadian Criminal Code that provides parents with a legal defence to use corporal punishment against their children; this provision is outlined in Section 43 of the Criminal Code. Recently, the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law challenged the constitutionality of Section 43 before the Supreme Court of Canada. The organization claimed Section 43 is unconstitutional. It violates children's Charter rights, such as the right to security of a person (Section 7), the right to be protected from cruel and unusual treatment (Section 12), and denies children the same protection adults receive under the law. Both the Canadian government and the Supreme Court of Canada reject the Foundation's arguments. Examining the federal government and the judicial system's rationale for refusing to remove Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code discloses how the parent-child relationship is perceived. This thesis examines how the parent-child relationship is perceived by the Canadian government and the issues that arise from such a view. This examination is essential for the comprehension of why Canada's corporal punishment law was enacted and remains in effect today.