Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act (Bill S-12)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla, whom I was very pleased to support when he brought forward legislation to free the transport of wine from one province to another.

Unfortunately, I have no enthusiasm whatsoever, but great trepidation and concern that what appears to be innocent—incorporation by reference—will do serious damage to the scrutiny of regulations in this place.

There is a reason we do not say a law is passed and then incorporate by reference large swathes of changes that do not allow the average citizen to stay on top of what is happening to laws that affect them. On the contrary, this kind of change will undermine the ability of Canadian business to know what regulations apply to them and when they have been changed.

Yes, it is true that there are systems of government that are far more efficient than democracy, but the rule of law matters in democracies, and as benign as this bill sounds, it is a dangerous move.

I cannot support Bill S-12.

Dan Albas: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member’s previous support of my changes to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act.

One of the challenges we have is there is a not very well understood point that the House, Parliament, has sovereignty over what treaties it becomes part of to what standards are chosen.

As I said to the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, we have the choice, as legislators, to choose static or dynamic, depending upon what is in our best interest.

I would ask the member to keep an open mind and to visit the scrutiny of regulations committee to listen in. That committee does a very noble service by ensuring that when those statutes are translated into regulations, parliamentarians continue to scrutinize to ensure that not only are the regulations bona fide as per the statute, but that they are not unreasonably burdensome.

I would encourage the member to look at Bill S-12 as being more tools in the toolbox that would allow legislators like ourselves to decide what is in our national interest.

Bill S-12 is in our national interest based on those points.