Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Enough with the regulations and redtape!

As most Canadians go through their day to day life the last thing on their minds is the ever existing, non relenting government creep into our daily lives. Unfortunately, it creeps along taking our freedom a small bit at a time, not enough to raise a red flag, but there none the less. Like rats, one is just the first and before you know it your home is infested. Now the really insidious part of it is that it comes from all directions, from all levels of government, and seldom shows any indication of where it will lead say a decade down the road.

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The underlying cause of all of this is that by default one of a governments main functions is to regulate. Think about it, at the end of the day once you set aside the most obvious top of the pile government duties like defense and such, what's left but regulation. Every level of government, civic, provincial, and federal all are at work continuously to rewrite, enhance, and create new regulations. Add to that the fact that with every change of government the "new guys" have to prove they can do better than the "old guard" by making changes to existing, trashing the old, writing new, or just being creative and making a crisis out of something that was never regulated before.

Think about it, what restrictions and regulations have been brought into place in just the last ten years? What regulations affect your daily life?

Government has gone from serving the people, to supervising the people. Canadians are now wards of the state, for the most part viewed as irresponsible individuals who have to be taken care of from cradle to grave, and told how to behave in society. Government regulation takes from our pockets as surely as taxes do, but regulations typically do it under the radar. Every product or service that you purchase almost certainly has regulations attached to it, regulations that incur costs for the provider, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and in many cases all of them at differ points in the path to the end user, which are in turn passed onto you as the consumer. So, just how bad is it?

Lets start by looking at our own Federal Government. There are now close to 70 departments and agencies that have regulatory authorities under law, but the bulk of the activity comes from about a dozen or so departments. The Feds have regulatory authority in about 14 areas, from the banking sector to inter-provincial trucking. This encompasses some 2,600 federal regulations, which require the efforts of 13,000 federal employees to manage. In 2007, the government began work that, ultimately, identified approximately 400,000 paper requirements and information obligations under existing regulations and programs. Now keep in mind that we are only looking at the Federal Government at this point.

2600 regulations, 13,000 employees , and 400,000 paper and information requirements! Surely this must cover virtually any conceivable act that requires regulation. Not even close, we still have the provincial and civic governments with their own regulation. Unfortunately at times the different levels of government regulations seem to be working at cross purposes.

A 2008 study conducted by Statistics Canada specifically focused on five sectors of the economy. It found that the cost to comply with the information obligations of 12 of the most common federal, provincial and municipal regulations in those sectors alone worked out to $1.1 billion per year, with tax-related information obligations accounting for 71 per cent of those costs. It also found that small businesses generate more than 17 million regulatory submissions annually. Yowser!, based on Canada's population of about 35 Million, that's one submission per year for every two Canadians, and that's only by small business, only in 5 sectors of the economy, and only 12 of the most common regulations at each level of government ! My head hurts! Now don't imagine that businesses are the only ones affected.

The agriculture sector and the family farm takes their hits too under the umbrella of regulation. Research conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found Canadian farmers are drowning in a sea of red tape. Sadly, a survey had 23 per cent of farmers stating that if they had known about the burden of regulations prior to going into farming they may have chosen another form of livelihood. Farmers listed a number of regulations and agencies they have to deal with on an ongoing basis including land use restrictions and by-laws, product labelling, traceability and age verification requirements, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Statistics Canada and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency. All so that they can work the land and grow the food on our tables.

On an individual basis we all deal daily with a myriad of regulations. From the start of our day the very food we eat for breakfast is heavily regulated, eggs, pork, and dairy are regulated by marketing boards, orange juice is regulated as to whether it is "fresh" or from concentrate (right down to the levels of sugar), the electricity for your stove is provided by a regulated utility, and so on and so forth. Off to work we go in an automobile that is regulated from bumper to bumper, the buzzer in your seat-belt, daytime running lights, crash test worthiness, the materials allowed in its manufacture, even the type of fuel it will run on, etc, etc, etc. At work we are subject to regulations specific to our particular field, banking, securities, manufacturing, food service, hundreds if not thousands of regulations imposed at different government levels. At night in our homes it continues, what we watch on television is regulated by the CRTC as is the provider of the signal into our TV, if we have a drink of alcohol we have been told what we can purchase, when and from who. Unfortunately what I just described is only the tip of the regulation iceberg! Some regulation is to the point of being ludicrous and would almost be comical if not for the fact we are the ones being regulated.

Now don't get me wrong, I realize that some regulations have to be in place to protect society, but when the zeal for regulations goes from being helpful to hindering we have problem. When the burden of regulation becomes a deciding factor for business on a regular basis, something needs to be done to streamline the process. Get rid of regulations that are redundant at different levels of government, combine regulations, and think twice about every proposed new regulation before moving forward on it. Here's a great example at the provincial level of creating regulations for the sake of creating them. Our province has  had  "distracted driving" legislation for years, yet they felt the need to pass specific legislation to deal with talking and texting on cell phones while driving. Correct me if I am wrong, but does it really matter if when you are behind the wheel you are applying makeup, shaving, reading a book, or talking on a cell phone, all of them "distract" you from driving. So why the need to regulate them separately?

Here's an example at our local civic level, Smoking Bylaws. First we saw bylaws enacted to prevent smoking in public indoor spaces (restaurants, offices, etc), to the point that a business could not be designated smoking or non-smoking (great for cigar stores and bars). One size fits all. As of earlier this month we saw council attempt to pass a further amendment to the bylaw, banning smoking within 10 meters of playgrounds, sports fields and other child-friendly outdoor areas. Fine concept, but even prior to making it official our civic government admitted it would be very difficult to enforce. So why pass bylaws that can not be enforced? From where I sit it is a tremendous waste of time and resources. As well a law should always be something that citizens respect, passing laws that by default they can simply flaunt is a bad precedent. My suspicion on this one is that it is good public relations and politicking.

Unfortunately, I suspect that over regulation will only get worse with time despite promises made at all levels of government. After all, if they are not creating, enacting, and enforcing regulations, what on earth would politicians and bureaucrats do with their time?


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  2. YOU WROTE: "Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

    That is kind of the way I feel about my own blogs.


  3. John,
    Good to have you aboard , I assume you are using the Dwindling Empire as a fact source for your own writing, if so you've come to the right place. Take care and come back as often as you need to, I post the facts here for exactly that reason. I am very pleased to see others taking them to heart.

  4. Don't Feed The Trolls!

  5. Lol, your comments get shorter and more meaning less with each post. I guess you must be running out of rant, or could it be that you are seeing the errors of the Lefts thought process?

    Either way it is a good thing for everyone.


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