...against fictions and other tall tales

Saturday, 5 March 2011

PM Harper's Red Tape Commission

Well, I have to hand it to Stephen Harper: the recently created Red Tape Commission is a stroke of genius. Don't get me wrong, I'm probably one of the few people out there (given my particular line of work) who thinks that administrative rules and procedures (i.e. red tape) play a crucial role in ensuring that public funds and government programs are well administered. My comment pertains solely to the political strategy that lurks behind the initiative. Take, for instance, the online consultative portal that's been set up to allow citizens to rant about federal filing "irritants" (that's the actual term used in official communication) and other obscure regulatory requirements that apparently make dealing with the federal government unbearable. Such a forum will no doubt provide the governing party with plenty of fodder for politicians and reporters once the writ is dropped and the campaign is underway. In other words, the commission provides a magnificient platform for cranks and party hacks seeking to vent or share their useless, anecdotal experiences about government "red tape" and other populist views about the federal bureaucracy in general.

All this to say that the initiative is turning out to be a fairly clever use of government resources for political purposes. See for yourself by checking out some of the online submissions that have been posted on the commission's official website. If you're anything like me, you'll probably find most enjoyable (and revealing) the comments about the supposedly onerous filing requirements related to StatsCan surveys...

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