Canada's docs want spanking criminalized

Sept. 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM
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TORONTO, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Spanking children should be made illegal in Canada, the Canadian Medical Association says in its latest journal.

Since 1892, the country's Criminal Code said parents may spank children as long as it is "reasonable under the circumstances." It permits spanking only children between 2 and 12 and must involve an open palm, the National Post reported.

In an editorial, the journal's editor-in-chief, John Fletcher called spanking an "excuse for poor parenting" and said the law needed to be changed.

"Parents need to be re-educated as to how to discipline their children," Fletcher wrote. "To have a specific code excusing parents is to suggest that assault by a parent is a normal and accepted part of bringing up children."

The CMA estimates the practice of spanking has declined to about half of what it was decades ago.

However, the Conservative government isn't interested in changing the law, Justice Department spokeswoman Julie Di Mambro told the Post in an e-mail.

"Parents are in the best position to raise their children," she said. "We believe it is up to them, not the government, to decide what is best for their children so long as it is within reason."

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