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Wayne Easter, MP

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Representing You in Ottawa

I am committed to bringing your voice to Ottawa, by ensuring your concerns are heard and working with you to create opportunities for growth in our province.

Red Tape Reduction: The First Federal Scorecard

Posted on July 21, 2014

January 2014 was a busy month for those with an interest in reducing government red tape. On January 29, 2014, the President of the Treasury Board introduced Bill C-21, known as the “Red Tape Reduction Act”. In January, “The 2012–2013 Scorecard Report: Implementing the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan” was released.

The document discusses the management of federal regulations in Canada, the one-for-one rule that is the focus of Bill C-21, the small business lens, forward regulatory plans, and service standards regarding high-volume regulatory authorizations. I believe that regulations have a place in helping to achieve sound public policies, but also that we have an obligation to ensure regulations exist for legitimate reasons. Poorly thought-out regulations can be costly and damaging, so this is an area where government needs to get it right.

While I urge Islanders and other Canadians to read the report and to share their thoughts with me, I’d like to provide my thoughts about what I see as some of the highlights in each of these areas:

Management of federal regulations in Canada

  • Regulations are a policy tool that enable economic activity and protect health, safety, security, and our environment
  • Parliament delegates regulatory authority to people and groups such as the Governor in Council, ministers, and administrative agencies

The one-for-one rule

  • The one-for-one rule states that every time a new regulation is created, an older regulation must be removed
  • In 2012-2013, the overall regulatory burden was reduced by close to $3 million.
  • Businesses will save an estimated 98,000 hours each year in dealing with regulatory red tape as a result of the one-for-one rule
  • Fishermen had their administrative burden reduced by $152,453 because of the elimination of rules requiring them to identify their fishing gear and vessels using department-supplied marking devices such as tags

The small business lends

  • It is too early to conclude whether the small business lends is having the intended effect, as regulations with significant business impacts can take months or years to design and implement

Forward regulatory plans

  • In the spring of 2013, regulators posted 32 forward regulatory plans collectively identifying and describing 460 planned regulatory initiatives to be introduced within a 24-month period

Service standards regarding high-volume regulatory authorizations

  • In the spring of 2013, regulators posted service standards for 24 high-volume regulatory authorizations and processes
  • Beginning in June 2014, regulators must annually report their performance against their publicly-available service standards for high-volume regulatory authorizations

Economics of Policing – National Mental Health Strategy Recommendation

Posted on July 3, 2014

In my role as Public Safety Critic, I sit on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which has recently published a report on the Economics of Policing, trying to understand rising policing costs across the country, and recommend solutions.

Some conclusions are that:

The Committee recognizes that crime prevention and early intervention have social and economic benefits and recommends that the government makes further investments in these areas.

The Committee agrees that issues of mental health and addiction are an increasing challenge to the work of police officers, and recognizes the success of the community mobilization model in reducing crime rates, reducing calls for service, and allowing police officers to focus on core policing responsibilities.

I was pleased to submit a supplementary report recommending a National Mental Health Strategy to address concerns brought forward by law enforcement. The full report can be found at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=6583312&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=2&File=9

More information about the repot can be found at: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/plcng/cnmcs-plcng/index-eng.aspx

From Soil to Stomach: Why Food Traceability Matters

Posted on June 25, 2014

As a farmer, consumer, and your Member of Parliament, I take agriculture and our food supply chain very seriously. Some reading from the Conference Board of Canada offers an in-depth look at food policies, laws and regulations, the framework around which food gets from the farm to your table. Some points from “Forging Stronger Links: Traceability and the Canadian Food Supply Chain,” by Alison Howard, Jessica Edge, and Michael Grant caught my eye.

Food traceability is an issue that is “about trust.” Obviously we all eat, meaning we all have a vested interest in maintaining a traceable, safe food supply chain. It’s about risk-management. People want information about their food’s origin and movement through the supply chain so they can make food choices reflective of their preferences on safety, health, quality, taste, and cost. It’s worth keeping in mind then, that:

  • Investments made by businesses in food traceability must lead to benefits that are at least as great as their investments; businesses will only invest if there is a positive return
  • Government should be aware of food traceability costs and benefits for businesses, and for consumers, in order to implement regulations that are affordable and sustainable
  • Demands for better traceability have come in response to “the globalization of food markets, changing trade regulations, and greater focus on food safety incidents,” such as Listeriosis or E. Coli outbreaks caused by tainted food
  • Tainted food scandals have social and economic impacts. Food traceability systems can be used by authorities to limit the spread of tainted food, and by retailers to identify and remove only contaminated food products, thereby reducing waste
  • Retailers and food processors that have a “strong brand” may be more likely to use food traceability systems. Traceability can also help in the identification of specific food choices, such as organic or sustainable products
  • Canadian governments have acted to an extent to regulate traceability in order to improve food safety and protect the “economic interests” of the food sector. Other countries and regions have also adopted regulations that apply to some or all food products, which has export implications for Canadian businesses in the food supply chain
  • Larger firms may “see greater direct financial benefits from a sophisticated food traceability system” and may have access to the funds to finance such a system.

To this end, efforts design to improve food traceability could be directed at:

  • Making traceability systems universal and compatible across businesses in the food supply chain, and comprehensive to ensure that the entire supply chain is covered;
  • Mandating minimum requirements for food traceability systems and ensuring that the systems are affordable;
  • Requiring detailed information in order to best handle emergencies;
  • Helping to fund the start-up costs of food traceability systems;
  • Promoting the benefits of participation in food traceability systems; and
  • Evaluating food traceability systems on an ongoing basis to ensure that system performance is improved.

Food traceability, as our food-supply chain becomes more globalized, is increasingly important for our health and well-being. That’s just some food for thought.

Paying Tribute to Jack MacAndrew

Posted on June 17, 2014

Today I had the honour of rising in the House to speak about the exceptional life of Jack MacAndrew (click to view video)   “Mr. Speaker, […]

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Kensington’s Centennial

Posted on June 10, 2014

June 9th, I had the pleasure of rising in the House to congratulate Kensington on their centennial [see video here]: “Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate […]

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MP Shuck Off Challenge

Posted on June 6, 2014

Proud to have won the MP Shuck Off Challenge this week. All MPs in attendance were fantastic!  

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Holding the Government to Account

Posted on May 30, 2014

Yesterday I delivered two questions to the government. The first was on the lack of import restrictions on spent fowl, which threatens the quality of poultry […]

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A Tribute to Roland Larkin

Posted on May 30, 2014

I had the honour of rising in the House of Commons yesterday to pay tribute to Roland Larkin, a great Islander. http://youtu.be/ddSB2QCY7sQ  

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The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

Posted on May 28, 2014

Had the pleasure of meeting with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. They’re doing great work on the front-lines accelerating healthcare improvement and targeting and then reducing […]

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Wheatley River Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

Posted on May 26, 2014

Was great to be in Wheatley River yesterday for their pancake breakfast fundraiser!

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