An opaque kind of transparent governance – Editorial

Bill C-36 was passed by the Senate in one of the last few sessions before the federal parliament broke for the Christmas holidays late December.

The move meant that the controversial piece of legislation cleared the last hurdle to take effect sometime before the spring.

On the face of it, the Bill, which is to become Canada Consumer Product Safety Act once enacted, gives the federal government new powers to act to protect consumers.

‘The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act will give the government important new tools,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Health Minister.

But what kind of tools, how they are to be used and against who are only a few of the dozens of questions that this obscurely drafted legislation has generated among the electorate.

The Bill includes a lot of provisions that refer to regulations that have yet to be drafted, let alone adopted. On that score alone, the legislation appears to be a front for another agenda; but what that agenda is anybody’s guess.

I have spent about two hours researching and reading reactions to the passage of the Bill, and admittedly, what I could read did not even amount to a fraction of the comments on the document posted on the Internet.

And the comments spread over so wide a range that it was very interesting to read one commentator applauding the Bill for putting a final end to Quebec’s dream of independence while others said the Bill meant an end to rights and liberties of Canadian citizens. One commentator even said that Bill 36 was the death knell of the rule of law that was instituted back in 1215 with the Magna Carta.

So many diversified interpretations of the same document can only mean one thing: The language of the legislation is confusing, so much so that there are major differences of interpretation even among constitutional lawyers.

This is just another minus on the scorecard for the Bill. Government of Canada has (or had?) a fundamental policy of openness and transparency, enshrined in its promise to the people of Canada that all its actions will be communicated in a clear and understandable manner and in both official languages wherever and whenever required.

Here we can safely conclude that the federal government has failed to deliver on its promise of openness.

It was also interesting to read that so many of the commentators, having simply grown suspicious over the pro-big business, pro-US and anti-social orientation of legislation adopted by the parliament since Stephen Harper became prime minister, express concerns that the Bill would add just another notch to the process of Americanization of Canada’s system of government.

It would be nice to see that Bill challenged at the Supreme Court of Canada from a standpoint of compatibility with the Charter of Rights.

Just Posted

Stettler Health Foundation has a lot to smile about

Stettler Tim Hortons donates $2,994 Smile Cookie proceeds to local health foundation

Stettler man found guilty of illegally trafficking wildlife

Hunting license suspended for three years

Our Town Stettler

Main Street in the early 1900s

Stettler hosting Third Annual Old Fashion Christmas Dinner

Freedom Christian Fellowship also having a free Christmas Dinner

High number of Clearview students graduate: Annual report

Clearview boasts 86.4 per cent Grade 12 completion

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

‘I practically begged’: B.C. woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

New home for Calgary Flames estimated to cost up to $600 million

The city and the Flames are not yet talking on who will pay how much for a building to replace the Saddledome

Most Read