Entitled

One of the more repulsive ingredients in the legislative sausage these days is the manipulative naming of bills. In its most grotesque form it involves naming the bill after some tragic victim of whatever crime the bill is supposed to prevent or upgrade from illegal to super-duper illegal. Type “[popular girl’s name]’s law” into Google and you’re almost guaranteed to turn up some legislative push, usually surrounding child molestation or abduction. And since these are already criminal offences, the laws are usually desperate attempts on the part of politicians to show how much they care by doing something.

On a related note, Canada’s Conservatives have picked up the bad habit of giving their proposed legislation prejudicial names as well. Thus, the “Fair Elections Act”. Whatever the merits of the bill, does it really need such a heavy handed title? Have our elections—including the one that brought the current government to power—been hitherto unfair? I don’t see how this even works. It should have been obvious that opponents of the bill were going to respond by attaching the entirely predictable prefix. Inevitably this is the sort of thing you get when you put the most mindless of mindless partisans in charge of “reforming democracy”.

If it were up to me, I’d pass a law mandating that bills before parliament be given dull names like “An act modifying the Elections Act.” Of course parliament can’t bind its successors that way, but what are the odds that more than one in ten politicians could give a concise definition of parliamentary sovereignty without looking it up?

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