Saturday, May 28, 2011

Keeping regular

Mark Steyn has posted a piece about the morass of regulations in the U.S. There is a person in the U.S. government who "is charged by the president with "an unprecedented government-wide review of regulations" in order to "improve or remove those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, excessively burdensome or in conflict with other rules."

It's not so different in Canada. When I worked in the Secretary of State's office, I remember reading some correspondence on "regularizing" regulations. After the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was passed in 1982, government departments were given several years to look over their regulations and revise them to bring them in line with the new rules. This meant pretty much pc-ing the whole lot, making sure that "man" was replaced by "person", "he" by "he/she", etc.

The memo I read was complaining that the deadline was coming up, and so far there had been precious little progress in the Department of Transportation on bringing their regulations up to snuff. In fact, the writer said there had been just one amendment: a regulation on maritime navigation had replaced the word "lunatic" with something more decorous. All I could think was "What on earth was the original regulation that could incorporate the word "lunatic" in a question of sailing a boat?" Allowing lunatics to pilot boats? Transporting lunatics by sea? I'll never know, but my imagination will play with it forever.


Blogger Ann McCarthy said...

Having seen several lunatics at the controls of boats on Lake Vermilion in MN over the last few years, the term could be used for boat pilots or passengers. It does get the imagination going!

11:44 pm  

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