Canadian Government to make major announcement tomorrow regarding canoe and kayak registration

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

I just got word that Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Chuck Strahl will be in Calgary on Thursday, March 17, 2011 to make an announcement related to small vessel regulations and canoe/kayak registration.

There is no word on what the announcement could be but as somebody who loves to follow Apple product rumours and personally making poor predictions as to what the iPhone 5 will feature, I’m going to go out in a limb and give an educated guess.

Here it is: I predict that they are going to announce a freeze in the implementation of the new regulations across the board while Transport Canada is tasked to amend the regulations to make them clearer for everbody.

Here are my reasons why I think this will happen:

  1. We all know there is a pretty much a 100% chance that an election will take place this spring and I will guess a conversation took place in the Minister office along the lines of this:

“Sir, the press are asking questions about people not being allowed to go canoeing this summer!”

“Oh no, tell them that isn’t our intention. We love people out paddling.”

“But Sir, we have an election coming up. What if it becomes an issue and somebody starts asking questions at one of our town hall meetings along the election trail?”

“Yikes! Ok, freeze the whole thing. We will sort it out after the election.”

  1. The Minister addressed the issue to the press back on February 24th. At the time he mentioned fixing the “ambiguous legislation” and it was never the intention that Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and other non-profit groups get caught up in the commercial regulations.

That was only three weeks ago. If they are making an announcement this fast, there is no way they would have been able to make the significant changes required to clear the confusion and controversy surrounding the regulations. Maybe but highly unlikely.

The only other possible announcement that I can see is that they will exempt Girl Guides and Scouts from the regulations and vessel registration. That would be fairly easy to implement as they could make an amendment to exempt the two groups from it. The only problem with specifically exempting them only is that it doesn’t really address the perception that joe public, church or non-profit youth groups will be forced to register before going out on a camping trip.

In an election year, public perception has soured election results in the past and keeping everybody happy really is the key. Between now and ballot day you can bet that everyone will be walking on egg shells and it’s much easier just to put a freeze on it for now and sort it out later.

Could I be wrong? Probably, we will see tomorrow but to not guess would take the fun out of it!


Update: Did Canada's Minister of Industry, Tony Clement hint to MooseFM today that the whole thing is dead in the water? Maybe. Though 99.5 MooseFM isn't exactly known for their hard hitting investigative journalism, there is a quick snippet of an interview he did on local television recently. He says that nothing is going to go through and the regulations are all going to change.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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