Today in the legislature we debated Bill 9 — Miscellaneous Statutes (Minor Corrections) Amendment Act, 2017. This bill corrects a number of very minor errors in legislation that have been found over the years. Changes include things like the addition of a few commas, correcting spelling mistakes, including an ‘and’, replacing ‘whom’ with ‘who’ and numerous other trivial modifications.
Below are the text and video of my not to be taken too seriously comments on Bill 9.
A. Weaver: I see that the Attorney General was very excited and wanted to close debate on this very important bill that corrects quite a number of small, minor issues over quite a number of statutes that have occurred over many, many years.
I take my place to speak, obviously, in favour. But I’d like to cover this in a little detail, because I think that it’s important that we get to the bottom of some of these changes to see how things are playing out. And I must admit these are not trivial changes in some cases.
As the hon. member for Prince George–Mackenzie was able to point out, this, of course, is…. Other tools of doing this…. We have an incredible legislative counsel working with the Attorney General’s office to keep our bills and statutes updated.
But as I was reading through this and as I was going through the various bills, checking why a comma was changed and so forth, it became clear to me that it’s not as easy to see why the changes occur as one might think.
For example, if we start with the very first change in this bill under Administrative Tribunal Statutes Amendment Act, 2015: “1 Section 70 (b) of the Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015, S.B.C. 2015, c. 10, as it amends section 12 (2) (d) of the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 131, is amended by striking out ‘purposes’ and substituting ‘purpose.'” So rather than having purposes, there’s only one purpose.
But this is where it gets confusing. I went to section 10.3, where it said the following. In section 10, for the purposes of section 10.3, we’re directed to the Farm Practices Act. It says: “Stop a person whom the inspector….” I would have thought that the legislative drafters would have caught that it’s not “whom the inspector” but it’s “who the inspector,” because that is grammatically incorrect.
I’m not sure that, in fact, the Farm Practices Protection Act was changed in this. But I will point out that later in this, we do have a change in this act where the word “whom” is changed to “who.”
Just bear with me for a second. It’s a very complex and long bill here. Look in the Animal Health Act, No. 2 of the changes. It said: “Section 23 (1) (a) of the Animal Health Act, S.B.C. 2014, c. 16, is amended by striking out ‘whom’ and substituting ‘who.'” I agree with that — grammatically correct, very important to do.
But what I cannot believe was missed in this bill — and frankly, shame on government for missing this — in the change on section 1, it refers specifically to section 12.2(d) of the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act, which says “stop a person whom the inspector respectfully believes is the person responsible for an animal or an animal product or by-product.” Shocking, reckless indifference to grammar.
I jest, as I’m sure you might imagine. The member Vancouver–West End isn’t sure whether I’m jesting or not, but there will be more of these to come. But it is kind of ironic as I was actually going through these, I did notice in the first reference, the “whom” wasn’t corrected to “who,” where in the very next thing, the “whom” was corrected to “who,” which is kind of interesting. But it gets complex.
When you go to the farm act again, and you’re coming in, it says “For the purpose of Section 10.3, respecting engagement and retention of specialists and consultants by the board,” the problem I’ve got here is that it refers to section 10, which was repealed. So it seems to me, in (1) that we’re correcting something that refers to another act, from “purposes” to “purpose,” which refers to another section that was repealed.
So I’m confused. I’m sure I’ll probe this in thorough detail during committee stage of this bill, as we try to get to the bottom of this critical missing section. I could just be in error.
There are many, many such changes here, most of which I’m sure have compelling reasons to actually support…. For example, the third one says…. In the Assessment Act, we’re striking out “sea going” and substituting “sea-going.” Now, that’s important because “sea going” could mean the sea is going, but “sea-going” implies sea-going. There’s a very important difference there, and I’m glad that this is picked out.
Also, in (4), it’s: “under the Canada Pension Plan.” But should you not know that the Canada Pension Plan needs to be highlighted…. We’re changing that to highlight Canada Pension Plan in italics, which is an important change for those who recognize that this needs to be brought forward and illustrated as significantly different from the rest.
We can go forward to the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. There’s an “and” added here. It’s very important. Of course, I could see that. We’ve got some section issues. There’s a comma that was needed as well.
We’ve got “paragraphs” changing to “paragraph.” Heaven forbid we refer to “paragraphs” instead of just the “paragraph.”
There are many more. One of the more important ones is section 15 of the bill, where we talk about the Forensic Psychiatry Act. It’s critical. This is the Forensic Psychiatry Act. In today’s society, mental health issues are first and foremost in what we’re doing, and heaven forbid that we refer to an “inpatient” rather than “in-patient.” Now, I’m confused about that, and it’s causing me some mental anguish, particularly as it’s in the Forensic Psychiatry Act.
When I look it up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “inpatient” is “inpatient.” I know it sounds like “impatient,” which I’m sure the members are right now, as I’m speaking, but “inpatient” seems to be okay.
A. Weaver: The member for Surrey–White Rock suggests that I do not jest when I say that.
There are many. The Great Bear Rainforest Act, an act brought in very recently. Instead of now saying “new-non GBR, it’s “new non-GBR.” Not sure quite what the change is in that…. Oh, sorry. The hyphen was in the wrong place. It was “new-non GBR,” and now it’s “new non-GBR.” Another important change.
I could go on. I could on with the many, many changes.
A. Weaver: Oh, the member for Chilliwack-Kent would like me to go on.
I want to come to the schedules at the back, where the changes are. There are so many of these commas and others, which are important, obviously. We come to the schedules, and these are some of the most dramatic changes that need to be done.
On page 10 of this bill, it says “in so far” as opposed to “insofar” with no spaces. It’s replacing that in so many places, in 12 different bills. Sloppiness, going back to the 1990s. Heaven forbid we look at the error.
It was made in all the bills. The Arbitration Act, 1996. The Cooperative Association Act, 1999. The Creston Valley Wildlife Act, 1996. The Frustrated Contract Act, 1996. I didn’t know such an act existed. The Interpretation Act, 1996. The labour relations code, 1996. My good friends the NDP here shouldn’t have made the mistake in that one. The Land Title Act, 1996. The Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services Act, 1996. The Offence Act, 1996. The Railway Act, 1996. The Securities Transfer Act, 2007. This error clearly, while originating in the decadent eras of the 1990s, perpetuated through sequential Liberal governments and was not corrected in the 2007 bill, brought in as the Securities Transfer Act. I’m so glad it’s being changed. Grammaticists and spell-checkers around the world are celebrating today.
On Schedule 2. I must admit that I don’t understand this. I guess I do. In 13 — 13 no less — bills, most of which were done by the B.C. Liberals, “mail box” is corrected to “mailbox” with no space. Now, that’s important. It is not “male box.” They’re not saying “male box.” I get why some males should be in a box. They’re saying “mail box,” being replaced by “mailbox,” no space.
Now, I don’t understand that one. I thought “mail box” was pretty clear, that it’s a mail box, but apparently not. So I do appreciate these changes, and I thank government from the bottom of my heart for bringing these changes forward.
We also have, in Schedule 3, “merit based processes” being corrected to “merit-based processes” in many, many places as well. And finally, Schedule 4 on this bill, at the end….
A. Weaver: The member for Cariboo-Chilcotin is taking such an aggrieved point of view about this bill. Oh, my goodness.
A. Weaver: Cariboo North. I’m sorry. I’m looking forward to her standing and speaking passionately in support of this, as I’m about to head to Education estimates in about one minute.
The final change that I think needs to be celebrated here today is “self propelled” being corrected to “self-propelled.”
With that, I will self-propel myself back into my seat.