NEWS RELEASE: Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette to table a bill in the Senate protecting children against corporal punishment
December 2, 2004

OTTAWA, December 2, 2004 - Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette is tabling a Bill in the Senate Chamber today to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code and thereby protect children against corporal punishment.

"By tabling this Bill protecting children against corporal punishment, I want to put an end to an era where violence was still seen as acceptable," the Senator said. "The Bill would make it possible to eliminate discrimination against children, who remain the only group of citizens who still do not benefit from the protection of the criminal law when it comes to the use of force. It highlights our government's commitment to protect the most vulnerable people in our society against all forms of violence."

The text of the Bill would remove the justification in section 43 of the Criminal Code that allows schoolteachers, parents and persons standing in the place of a parent to use force to correct a pupil or a child under their care. "It would make it possible to respond to the Statistics Canada study on children's agressivity," added Senator Hervieux-Payette.

The Bill would provide a maximum delay of one year between the date the Bill is passed and the date it takes effect, which would enable the government to raise Canadians' awareness of this issue and ensure coordination with the provinces. In addition, the Bill would complete the steps taken by Canada to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1991.

"It is high time that Parliament assumed its legislative role in this regard, as parliaments have already done in over a dozen European countries including Sweden (1979), Germany (2000) and Norway (1987), and in some one hundred other countries that forbid corporal punishment in their schools," the Senator exclaimed.

Read Senator Hervieux-Payette's Bill S-21

Doris Berthiaume
Executive Assistant, lawyer
Office of Senator CÚline Hervieux-Payette, PC
(613) 947-8008

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