Advance View: Just cut the red tape that needs cutting

We get it. Red tape is annoying. It slows down the pace of business and it adds extra paperwork and hoop-jumping for busy people who are just eager to get the darned job done.

But equally annoying are silly promises made by governments whose sole purpose in making them is to ingratiate themselves to a special interest group.

This week is Red Tape Awareness Week, a lobbying gambit by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to make us all – but especially politicians – aware of the costs and hassles that are caused by annoying rules and regulations that business people would rather did not apply to them.

And sometimes they’re right. B.C.’s provincial government has been recognized for its admirable effort in reducing existing red tape and working to add as little new red tape as possible.

In the past year alone: it has become easier for businesses to register for workplace insurance under WorkSafeBC, a new restaurant start-up guide is available online, and paperwork for procurement of small (under $250,000) government contracts has been streamlined, government services websites have been consolidated. The government is also looking into further regulatory reform and streamlining.

So why did they have to do a fool thing like promising a net zero increase of regulatory requirements – and now a further announcement that the initiative will be extended to 2019 – which means eliminating an existing requirement any time a new requirement is added?

We have to assume that regulations are in place for a purpose – whether or not one or another special interest group doesn’t like it. If a regulation is no longer pertinent, for whatever reason, it should be deleted. If a new regulation is required or necessary, then it should be instituted.

Simple as that.

Arbitrarily tying additions to deletions could result in expediency errors. 

It just smacks of pandering.

– B.G.

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