EDITORIAL: Empty gestures

BC Liberals' "Red Tape Reduction Day" Bill nothing more than an empty gesture

The irony, as they say, is delicious.

This week, the BC Liberals introduced to the legislature Bill 34, which aims to proclaim the first Wednesday in March as “Red Tape Reduction Day.”

Yes, really.

The goal, one assumes, is a relatively simple one – to eliminate excess paper work, delays and other unnecessary road blocks that only serve to hold up the otherwise good and important work done by the provincial government.

Of course, we are left to make that assumption on our own, as the actual wording of the proclamation itself – just a few short expository paragraphs – provides little in the way of useful information.

What is the end goal of such a day? What exact measures will be taken to achieve said goals? Who, exactly, will benefit? And how?

In the spirit of the bill itself, at least it’s succinct.

However, a few more words would go a long way toward explaining what, exactly, the point of it is, because on the surface it seems to be nothing more than parody – an unnecessary procedure that passes a law celebrating the reduction of unnecessary procedures.

Red-tape reduction was addressed by Premier Christy Clark during a throne speech earlier this year. It was made a priority at that time, and responsibilities dumped on the lap of new minister of small business, Coralee Oakes.

And now here they are, talking about it again without substance. Seems redundant, no?

Critics – opposition politicians and citizens, alike – were quick to jump on the absurdity of it all, making comparisons to everything from Monty Python to The Simpsons, while wondering if it was a story culled from The Onion, the satirical online newspaper.

Had such a bill been passed on a larger stage, by a bigger government, it would likely be the lead item on any number of late-night television monologues.

But potshots aside, the bill itself seems meaningless – nothing more than an empty gesture aimed to make the government appear pro-active and forward thinking, while accomplishing nothing.

You know, the usual red tape.

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