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Finance minister named in Golden Scissors Award

Greg Vandermeulen

WINKLER - 

Morden-Winkler MLA and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen was named along with Premier Brian Pallister as winners of the 2018 Golden Scissors Award.
Presented by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the award honours leadership in cutting red tape for small businesses.
“The exceptional leadership being shown by Premier Pallister and Minister Friesen has put Manitoba on track to become a North-American leader in cutting red tape for small businesses,” CFIB Vice-Present Richard Truscott said.
Making good on an election promise, the government’s Regulatory Accountability Act set up measurement, tracking, reporting and reductions goals. That includes a 2 for 1 red tape reduction law until March 31, 2021 and a one for one reduction after.
To date the government has identified over 906,000 different regulatory requirements.
“It’s remarkable progress. In 2016, Manitoba was at the bottom of CFIB’s annual Red Tape Report Card with an “F” grade and had no clear plan to eliminate unnecessary, redundant or overly burdensome regulations,” Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB said. “This turnaround is clear evidence with the right leadership and policy choices, all jurisdictions are capable of tackling red tape.”
Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson said getting the “A” grade reflects their hard work.
“We are committed to making Manitoba the most improved province in Canada and this recognition by CFIB is another example of how we’re making progress on that goal,” she said.
Laura Jones said it’s not just the fact that Manitoba is trying, that earned them the award. She praised the measuring system the province developed for figuring out their red tape issues.
“The measure that has been developed in Manitoba I think, is the best in North America,” she said. “It’s very comprehensive and when you think of accountability, that’s what you want.”
In fact, Jones said others will likely be looking at what Manitoba is doing.
“Manitoba has done a better job than any other jurisdiction I’ve seen in measuring all of the regulatory burden,” she said. “I really do think it will be a model for other jurisdictions going forward.”
Jones said other provinces have had one-in-one-out policies before.
“But Manitoba is the first province in the country to make it the law that for every new regulatory requirement coming in, one has to be eliminated,” she said. “In the history of our report card (since 2011), this is unprecedented.”
Despite making a big impression on the CFIB, Jones said there’s a lot more work to be done in Manitoba.
“What Manitoba has done... is they’ve done an excellent job of getting to square one, which is having a measure and a policy to control the growth of regulation,” she said. “What they now have to do is reduce red tape. They now have the challenging task of actually cutting some of those unnecessary rules.”
There is a real cost to red tape as well. Jones said the total cost of regulation in Canada is close to $36 billion. Of that about $10 billion is considered red tape that could be cut.
In Manitoba, all federal, provincial and municipal regulations cost businesses $1.2 billion per year, of which $360 million is considered red tape.