In 2014, we discovered that the Department of Justice website contained factually false claims and editorializing on this issue. After reviewing our submissions, we are pleased that their website was updated to relay the rulings as set out by the Supreme Court on Canada’s spanking laws (2004) without the inappropriate opinions added.
In 2015, we discovered that the Public Health Agency had on their website, and in an “information” pamphlet produced for child protection workers, cited a long list of scientifically false claims and opinions denigrating spanking.
After the Minister of Health reviewed our submissions, the website was edited and the pamphlet revised.
While some false claims were removed, the pamphlet and website still contain opinions already scientifically debunked regarding spanking. While discussing excellent prevention techniques, they continue to omit any advice on the use of consequences when preventions fail. The author of this material continues to treat spanking as an “either/or” option rather than a progressive tool within a spectrum of responses (“PIE”). This demonstrates a lack of understanding of authoritative parenting systems.
We believe any advice provided to parents on behaviour management should be comprehensive, and not just prevention (the “P” in PIE). We believe Health Canada’s materials should reflect sound science, and not journaled opinion papers masquerading as science to promote particular ideologies. We will need to continue to work with the Public Health Agency to ensure they disseminate factual information, rather than their current propaganda.
We have provided information and research to governments internationally, for example: Australia, England, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand to name a few…
We believe our efforts have successes. For example, France recently reviewed this aspect of their laws and decided the existing law was optimally balanced.