Earlier today I blogged a news story about the federal government's new Smart Regulation initiative, which was presented as being based on the recommendations of a task force report. Thanks to Google, here's the English language website for the External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation. It turns out that the committee's final report was delivered to Dithers on Sept. 23, 2004.
There are links there for both HTML and PDF versions of a full report and an executive summary. The full report in PDF format comes in at 148 pages. I'll be printing that out at some point since I can't handle reading documents that long on screen. (It'll join the several hundred pages of documents I've printed out from the O'Connor Commission. Do I earn some kind of blogger karma points for this?)
But there are a couple of bits from the Executive Summary I'll leave with you for now. The first is this:
The Committee has highlighted the myriad small differences between Canadian and American regulations as an important issue. The federal government should take immediate steps in this regard. A designated minister should invite interested stakeholders to identify, by the end of December 2004, those regulatory differences for which elimination would not impede Canadian social and environmental objectives. Each should be examined against the set of criteria for specific Canadian requirements proposed by the Committee. By June 2005, recommendations should be made to the relevant ministers, who should take steps to immediately implement the recommendations.
If they're on schedule then those stakeholders have long since been invited to submit their suggestions and this process is already under way. Either that or Dithers has been sitting on this for six months. All the more reason to suspect that the timing of this announcement was intended as much for George Bush's ears as for ours.
There's one other quote I'll share for the moment:
The Minister of the Environment should initiate discussions immediately with the provinces and territories to explore the possibility of creating a national approach for environmental assessments. The situation should be assessed by June 2005. Should there be no interest from provincial and territorial governments or if progress is too slow, the federal government should create a single federal environmental assessment agency and implement other measures to improve the environmental assessment process.
If the provinces don't want to play, the feds should move on it unilaterally. I've seen nothing about this in the media though it's always possible I missed it. But isn't this the kind of thing that makes Ralph Klein yell loudly enough that you can hear him here in Ontario?
It should be interesting to see how closely the government's "40 point plan" resembles the report on which it's supposed to be based.