Laws without consequences

Like all fundamentals, the law of consequences is based on simple truth; actions always produce outcomes, or at least they should.

Like all fundamentals, the law of consequences is based on simple truth; actions always produce outcomes, or at least they should. You may ask what the law of consequences is, to put it in simple terms-cause and effect.

The law of consequences states that every result or effect happens for a reason, that’s better known as the cause. Everything we do will result in some form of outcome and the possibility of adverse consequences of those actions can act as a deterrent and guides us to choose a different path.

In the Legislature, we are responsible for presenting and passing Legislation that eventually becomes the laws of the land. In order for a law to have any meaning, there must be consequences or deterrents that come as a result of the actions taken. The consequences can be financial, they can result in suspension of a privilege or they can, in more serious cases, result in incarceration.

During the spring session, the Wildrose Official Opposition filed a breach of privilege regarding carbon tax ads that cost over $5 million. The Speaker of the Assembly brought his ruling to the house recently and ruled that the NDP government was in contempt of the Legislature with the carbon tax advertisements they were broadcasting prior to the Bill even being voted on by MLAs in the house. There is irrefutable evidence that there was a breach of privilege committed; a breach that unfortunately carried a price tag of over $5 million taxpayer’s dollars.

So now that it’s been determined that the law was broken, now what? The pursuit of that answer has been met with abject silence from the government bench. Wildrose House Leader, Nathan Cooper has requested that the matter be put before an all-party committee for further discussion and potential sanction, in order to prevent such abuses from happening again in the future.

The deterrent that should act as a guide for the government to not repeat this $5 million breach is obviously lacking in the Legislative Assembly if this is allowed to go without sanctions in some form. After all, it’s not like they can “unplay” these ads, the damage, or in this case, the money has been spent.

Imagine if you were driving down a divided highway with a posted speed limit of 100 kilometers an hour, a car goes by you at twice the speed limit. The next thing you see is an RCMP officer in pursuit. After finally getting the car pulled over, the officer is limited so no further action can be taken in this matter; no fine, no license suspension or any other form of deterrent. What would be the point in having the law, the sign or the officer patrolling the road?

As puzzling as this is, unfortunately it isn’t the first time we’ve witnessed this type of situation in the Alberta Legislature. The Wildrose Official Opposition will continue to pursue this matter and press the government to put deterrents in place, so when breaches such as this happen, there is effect that will guide people to making better choices in the government.