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Liberals promise bill requiring annual report on red tape reduction

TORONTO - The governing Liberals introduced legislation Wednesday that would require them to issue a report every year about what they're doing to snip red tape.

Business groups have been urging them to do it because it would make the provincial government more accountable for reducing regulatory burdens, said Economic Development Minister Eric Hoskins.

It would quantify what the government is doing to help businesses and how much time and money is being saved, he said.

The Progressive Conservatives' plan of meeting some regulatory reduction quota is "reckless" and will hurt the province, Hoskins said.

Tory critic Lisa Thompson has even said the tainted-water tragedy in Walkerton has produced too much red tape, he added.

An inquiry found that a lack of oversight and effective inspections contributed to the E. coli outbreak that killed seven people and sickened thousands in 2000, when the Tories were in power.

Several officers at the Ministry of Environment were unaware that E. coli was potentially lethal, the inquiry report stated.

"I am satisfied that if the MOE had adequately fulfilled its regulatory and oversight role, the tragedy in Walkerton would have been prevented or at least significantly reduced in scope," it said.

Tory Leader Tim Hudak fired back, saying the Liberals will only add red tape that will choke business in the province.

He's proposing to reduce regulations by one-third over three years. British Columbia implemented a similar plan and it worked well, he said.

"By having someone in charge and making it measurable, they exceeded that, and they attracted more jobs as a result," Hudak said.

The Canadian Press

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