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12 LAWS NOT LEGISLATED

The ordinary citizen may believe that their elected representatives seriously consider the implementation of all laws that affect them. This is far from the truth, some law is never considered by their elected representative. These laws are called regulations to statutes passed by the Legislature. But, the poor elected representative is the one held responsible for any wrongful effects of those laws. It was my practice in Caucus, to question the necessity , in all legislation, of the inclusion of a section that allowed the addition of regulations.

These laws are drafted by the bureaucracy and normally rubber stamped by the Cabinet. Supposedly, the Cabinet Minister fully understands the need and effect of the regulation that he brings to Cabinet. Maybe he does not. Maybe he has great problems on his mind. Maybe he is lazy. Maybe he is not familiar with some section of the public that will be adversly affected. And the other Members of Cabinet, they have the same limitations. But they also are reluctant to question the actions of their colleagues. 

Laws and, to an even greater extent, regulations, are usually created to reduce the freedom of action of a very small segment of people. The majority of laws that affect everyday life were never meant to affect the majority. Laws and regulations are in many cases a knee jerk reaction to an isolated happening. The happening may be the result of someone being careless, stupid, inconsiderate, or some other human frailty. But these human traits will always be with us. Many should be dealt with by applying penalties for the action, not trying in control of the majority, for the few who might act improperly. It should not be necessary to restrict the freedoms of many for the wrongdoing of the few. It may be something that reflects some local condition but not the whole jurisdiction. The regulation may impose costly action that in aggregate, for all those affected, far exceeds the cost of the problems it tries to correct.

These regulations are usually conceived and drafted by some member of the bureaucracy at their desk in head office. They may have school learning but may lack that uncommon trait of “Common Sense”. They may not lack common sense but may never have sat on the seat of a back hoe or dealt with a welfare recipient or handicapped person. They may have no concept of cost/benefit analysis. The regulations are often created by the bureaucracy to ease in administration. It is much easier for the bureaucracy to deal with statistics than human circumstances. It is wrong to set inflexible standards for flexible conditions. How can rigid regulations deal with the vast differences in people or conditions ?

Regulations should not be laws. They should be recommendations and guidelines. People, citizens and civil servants, should be able to use their experience and common sense as circumstances dictate. Deviations from the guidelines should be recorded. The recording of decisions that vary from guidelines would reflect on the evaluation of the individuals making the deviations. Such evaluation could indicate replacement or retraining of those who make no deviations, as well as those making bad deviations.

Regulations to Statutes, as much as the statutes themselves, affect people and should be legislated by the elected representatives, with input from those who will be affected. The creation of committees of elected representatives to assist the Ministers of each Department would provide the opportunity for regulations to be considered from the point of view of people instead of bureaucracy. The work of such committees, especially if the evil of politics were absent, would make better use of Members efforts.