The family is the primary social institution. Family autonomy you would think should be among the most important objectives of provincial and federal governments. What we have come to understand that parental liberty is fundamental to the concept and function of family. The family is the primary conservator and transmitter of values, beliefs and traditions. Can it not be evident to Members of the Legislative Assembly of B.C. and to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and to Educators and to Law Enforcement that any intervention into family is like an invasion into its sanctity because it endangers family customs and ideals?
Such recognition is underscored by the fact that the autonomy of family is both acknowledged and defended within Canadian human rights documents and international papers of which Canada is a signatory. Such documents seek to protect the rights of families against the intrusions inferred here against what is universally recognized as the natural and essential societal unit. It should be entitled to protection.
Would it interest you to know that the Canadian Bill of Rights makes a preamble statement stating that “The Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions?”
Furthermore, the United Convention on the Rights of the Child also issues a statement in its preamble, “Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities in the community.”
Contained in these documents and others like it are pro-family provisions which demonstrate the time-honoured tradition that public interests are best served when the family is supported and protected.
Sadly, unfortunately and unnecessarily, children’s rights activists pit their promotion and arguments against the historically held beliefs in the integral importance of the family. In certain international cultures where practices such as child marriage, female infanticide and genital mutilation are practiced I understand the obligation to speak for children’s rights over family tradition. But certainly not here in Canada. Yet Canada is among the coalition of countries that opposes the affirmation of parental rights. There is no comprehensive need to abolish parental rights and responsibilities in order to protect children from malicious treatment. Specific cases can always be dealt with through criminal law channels. There is no need to intrude upon the parent-child relationship by extreme efforts to eliminate parental rights.