News Brief — the sleeper law, Bill S-2

Bill S-2, the Sleeper lawBill S-2, is an Act respecting family homes situated on First Nation reserves and matrimonial interests or rights in or to structures and lands situated on those reserves. However, according to Blacklock’s Reporter, they will use it to “enact what one MP dubbed a “sleeper” law allowing cabinet to enact new regulations without public scrutiny. The bill ends a tradition dating from 1841 that requires all new federal regulations be plainly disclosed: “It deserves to receive a lot more attention in the media than it has”.

Mr. Craig Scott, Toronto—Danforth, NDP said in debate, “Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that the NDP is happy to see a bill that is attempting to make the regulatory process more efficient. However, we have some concerns that the way the technique of incorporation by reference appears in Bill S-2 will have some problems from a democratic perspective.

Incorporation by reference can include a method that includes referring to texts that change later and then the later changes end up automatically being part of our regulatory system without any further parliamentary review or review by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. In a nutshell, those two phenomena—of an open incorporation by reference and of future changes that never then actually have an accountability mechanism within Parliament—are the source of my particular concern, and I suspect my colleagues will also share that.”

To sum it up, they pass a bill with public consent. Then they change it after it has been approved, and it automatically becomes law without any further input from the public.

With fracking coming up on the radar again, maybe sooner than you think, this is a very dangerous bill.

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