A bill tabled by the provincial government aimed at reducing red tape and spurring on economic growth in the Maritime provinces is receiving a considerable amount of criticism from the opposition.
The Regulatory Accountability and Reporting Act is a partnership between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI which looks to collectively work on job creation in the Atlantic provinces.
Now in its second reading in New Brunswick, opposition leaders say several amendments are needed before the bill is passed.
“This bill that if passed as it is will give extraordinary powers to the Premier’s office to establish a regulatory framework to go after regulation according to a very narrow set of objectives and criteria undefined in the bill,” said NB Green Party Leader David Coon.
Coon’s worry is that lighter regulations can have a negative effect on the public and believes more work needs to be done on the bill before it’s ready to be put through the legislature.
“You’ve got to take a comprehensive approach which recognizes the need to uphold the public interest and not decrease the level of protection from harm that regulations provide to families to communities to the environment,” Coon said. “Protection from poor business practices, from a safety perspective, an occupational health perspective from all kinds of perspectives.”
Opposition Leader Bruce Fitch says the PC party believes the idea is a good one however the bill needs a drastic overhaul before they’ll support it.
“We’re all for cooperation, we’re all for reducing red tape,” said Fitch. “Now they’re putting one on the floor of the legislature that’s actually going to increase red tape so we’re going to give it a significant amount of scrutiny.”
New Brunswick Economic Development Minister Rick Doucet fielded questions on behalf of the province and says that ultimately the bill is based off of the one just passed in Nova Scotia.
“Our lawyers and the Nova Scotia lawyers worked quite closely together on this process,” he said in the legislature. “Basically whats taken place is Nova Scotia accelerated much further ahead than ourselves on it and we just had some of the loose ends to tie up to make sure we get into the legislative process.”