Read Senator Hervieux-Payette's Bill S-21
Justice Minister Irwin Cotler dealt a critical blow yesterday to a senator's bill to outlaw spanking, saying that abolishing the Criminal Code defence that allows parents and teachers to use reasonable force when disciplining children has already been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. "I don't foresee a legislative initiative in the context of that Supreme Court decision moving us towards a repeal," Mr. Cotler said outside the House of Commons. His failure to endorse a private member's bill tabled earlier in the day by Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette means it will not likely become law. The Criminal Code provision that Ms. Hervieux-Payette seeks to repeal -- known widely as the "spanking law" -- permits parents and teachers to use "force by way of correction" if it does not exceed "what is reasonable under the circumstances." The senator said her initiative would "put an end to an era where violence is still seen as acceptable." There have already been several failed attempts by MPs and senators over the years to do away with the 112-year-old law.
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