Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week we learned that about 40 ultra-Orthodox Jewish families fled Quebec for Ontario to escape the youth protection branch. In Israel — and yes, I said Israel, not Palestine — this kind of community is known by Jews themselves as the “Jewish Taliban.”
The Quebec authorities had received some complaints. The children are allegedly abused, malnourished and forced to work. A young girl of just 14 was allegedly forced to get married. The children are allegedly not educated. They live a few kilometres away from my country home.
The Criminal Code does not adequately protect children. Your government, the Conservative government, can send a clear message to Canadians that children are not chattel; they have rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified; and children should not be raised in an environment of threats, terror or violence.
My question is simple: when will your government amend the Criminal Code to remove section 43, which gives parents carte blanche to use violence against children, and when will your government launch a public awareness campaign on child development and how to exercise one’s authority without violence? (more…)