Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kyoto legislation "odd" says Van Loan

Curious comment from the vaunted House Leader today, on the Kyoto legislation that had been heretofore stalled in the Senate. Seems Petey and the gang have dained to allow a vote on it. Amazing thing that democracy if you let it work...:) Anyhoo...here's what Van Loan has to say about it, and the context:
Conservatives and Liberals have agreed to quickly clear the legislative decks in the Senate, committing to vote Friday on a host of bills, including the federal budget.

In return for the speedy budget vote, the Tories agreed Thursday to vote on a controversial Liberal private member's bill ordering the government to meet the Kyoto targets for greenhouse-gas emission reductions.

The Tories have long contended the targets are unachievable without destroying the economy and, until recently, had been filibustering the bill to prevent it coming to a vote in the Liberal-dominated Senate.

But Peter Van Loan, the government's House leader, played down the significance of the Kyoto bill.

"It's a very odd piece of legislation," he said in an interview, noting that it commits the government to achieving emission reduction goals without spending a dime.

He said "there's some similarity" between the bill and a toothless motion passed years ago by Parliament to eliminate child poverty by 2000.

"Abstract goals like that are a tough thing to enforce as a law."
Yes, I can see why Kyoto would be "odd" and "abstract" to you, Van Loan. The environment is like kryptonite to Conservatives, as we know.

Quite the concept for a lawyer to be confronted with at this late date that laws would embody goals, standards, principles and would not spell out in every last detail how the goals are to be costed out in spreadsheet like efficiency. Seems to me that's what budgets and government departments are for. And regulations. Make the laws, then put them into effect. Do we budget out every last item before we pass every piece of legislation? Sounds like ideal fiscal management but impractical. If we increase penalties for drunk driving, do we include spending commitments in the bill to support the police in their enforcement of it? No, I don't think we do. We deal with that in budgets and planning. It's a give and take, it seems to me. If the people's representatives pass a law that commits the country to achieving a goal, then the government has to do what is necessary to support it. And if you don't want to do it, well, you can get out of the way for people who want to do it...:)