Rules are There for a Reason
Feb 15, 2017
There has been a lot of talk lately from the provincial government about reducing regulations and ‘cutting red tape.’ But we as Manitobans have to see this for what it is and it starts by asking the question, “what is a regulation?”
A regulation is simply a rule in place to protect the greater good. Those who use the term “regulation” or “red tape” see these rules or protections as limitations on their own self interests. For the average Manitoban, these protections are important as they safeguard us from any potential negative effects on our environment, our health and safety, and our financial well-being.
So while the goal of simplifying and improving government processes makes sense, the government needs to exercise some caution before putting these protections on the chopping block. In short, the Manitoba Government’s new “Red Tape Reduction Task Force” must ensure the well-being of all Manitobans is not jeopardized in the process.
This concern is something I shared with the co-chairs of the task force, MLA for Morris, Shannon Martin and President of Exchange Income Corporation, Carmele Peter. They recently invited me to talk with them about moving forward with their mandate, which includes deciding which type of rules they feel can be eliminated. Our union has formally asked some very pointed questions of how this process will work in a letter we presented to Mr. Martin.
We urged the co-chairs that this shouldn’t be an opportunity to cut corners, especially when protecting the health and safety of workers on the job, who deliver important public services to Manitobans.
For example, the MGEU has been a strong supporter of the “Safe Roads” campaign and has advocated for enhancing safety in construction zones. We wouldn’t want these protections, which keep all Manitobans safe, to be eliminated.
We also have concerns around the government’s specific path forward. They are proposing a “one-for-one” or “two-for-one” type of law. Essentially, for every rule and/or protection they add, one or two would have to be removed. The question becomes, how do you justify taking away a specific rule that was put in place to ensure the safety of Manitobans?
We have seen the devastating effects that this exercise has had in other jurisdictions and how weak enforcement can also lead to problems. Look no further than the deadly train derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people. Regulatory failures such as this, loosening regulations for rail companies, can have serious consequences. Or think back to the financial crisis of 2008. It was a lack of regulation in the financial industry that led to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the resulting economic recession.
We’re hoping the co-chairs take our recommendations seriously, because there’s a lot at stake when you start removing protections for Manitobans simply because additional new protections are needed.
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