Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP friend who has so graciously agreed to split his time.
I have a few things I need to add to the debate. I listened very carefully to the member for Vancouver East and I agree 100% with her commitment to protecting children. I would even add that we, as parents and teachers, should have a genuine love for the long term well-being of children as they are growing up, otherwise we are disqualified from the position. I am speaking specifically here of teachers.
When I was a youngster I remember that our teacher had a strap in her desk. It was a hunk of a belt. I am also proud to say that I went through my entire schooling without ever having had the belt applied to me. Just knowing that it was there was more than sufficient to guide my behaviour where perhaps there might have been a lapse.
I must also confess that my own beloved dad applied the rod of correction twice, that I can remember, to the seat of understanding. In both instances, and I have clear recollections of this many years later, he explained to me that I had erred and that he was doing this to help me to become a responsible, decent person and to not show disrespect. In one case it was disrespect for a teacher and in the other case it was misbehaving in church, believe it or not. I was disturbing people around me so my dad took me out and explained to me that it was his duty to do this or I would not turn out to be a good kid.
Today, despite the fact I received two spankings, not whippings or beatings, delivered by a loving parent in a rational way, I believe I have a well rounded personality. Members can take that two ways if they so choose.
I find it abhorrent to think that in this parliament we would consider taking a parent like my dad and saying that he was guilty of a criminal sanction because of his excessive love for me and wanting to correct me. I cannot believe we would contemplate that.
At the same time, I underline that the abuse or beating of children is wrong. I believe that anyone, be it a parent, a teacher or anyone else, who abuses a child should not be allowed to hide behind section 43 of the criminal code. There is no judge in the land who would let a person get away with that.
I think of the long term effect. What do we do with a youngster in grade two or three who is using excessively bad language in the schoolyard? We can talk to the youngster and try to persuade him or her not to continue but eventually we must stop the behaviour. Although I was not involved directly, I have seen a situation where other parents were saying that they did not want that youngster to be teaching their children bad language. This was in grade two. How do we correct the behaviour if we cannot persuade the youngster? A good, gentle and loving spanking, at the same time as a good clear explanation of what it is for, could retract that behaviour.
Unless people are socialized properly and they learn to live with each other in kindness and consideration we will have youngsters growing up on the other end of the spectrum. We will then have to deal the ultimate sanction to them which is to take away their freedom.
One of the saddest times I have had since becoming a member of parliament was visiting the youth detention centre in my area. I saw 12, 13 and 14 year olds in detention because they had assaulted someone in the schoolyard with a knife. Whatever we can do to train them and to train them properly is good in the long term. I would much rather have my children get a good, careful, and loving spanking than have to visit them in jail.