Editorial – A very good idea

Jeff Burgar

If you are a parent, have you ever told your child, “This is the last time I’m telling you.”

Of course you have!

You are the boss? “How many times do I have to tell my staff not to do that?”

Teacher? “I’m not going to tell you any more not to run in the halls.”

And so it goes, on and on.

Politicians have it so much easier. They just pass a law. And another law. And yet another law.

The above examples all sort of fly under the banner of “being good for you, and maybe everybody else.” So, laws against speeding are good for you and maybe everybody else using the road. Still, a law telling a swimming pool how many lifeguards to have might be good for swimmers, but not so good for taxpayers who have to pay for. It doesn’t matter. Such laws are everywhere.

Politicians just can’t help sticking their noses in people’s lives. There’s a problem with people speeding? Pass a law. People aren’t paying taxes? Pass a law. People are cooking with wood instead of gas? Pass a law. People are tossing plastic straws in the ocean? Pass a law.

Experienced civil servants just shake their head at this stuff. The reason is, it’s very easy to pass a law. But, it can be a horrible amount of work enforcing the law. Even more work having to prosecute in court. Even more work fixing the law after losing in court because the lawyers who wrote it did a lousy job. Next thing you know, that simple little law is 20 pages of legal malarkey.

Plus a gang of bureaucrats busy pushing paper over it. Plus another gang of “professionals” who hire themselves out explaining the law to the average person.

It might only be one or two years for something really silly to be put on the books. By the time it gets taken off, it could be 20-30 years. Wasted!

As said in some colleges to the incoming new class, “Look to your left. Look to your right. By the time you get your degree, both of those people will be gone.”

So politicians, look to your left. Look to your right. By the time you leave office, each of those people will probably be responsible for at least 200 really stupid ideas the back office had to “look into.” Some of those ideas will end up as bad laws.

Which is why every few years, someone gets the idea to “clean up” the books to get rid of crappy rules and regulations. We have sunset rules. Donald Trump promising to kill three old regulations for every new one brought in, and actually getting rid of 10.

Now, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is doing the same “Kill the Red Tape” campaign. So far, the UCP says they have “thousands” of suggestions which red tape rules to kill. Gosh, only thousands? Maybe 10 people trying to kill the same stupid law!

Remarkably, the website is really easy to use. One box is all you have to really fill out. One!

https://www.alberta.ca/cut-red-tape.aspx Or send a real mail to your MLA.

So, have some fun. Fill out your own stories of useless rules. Make Alberta a better place.

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