Legicrawler News : : August-September 2008
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'O Canada?'* Oh, yes -- Legicrawler from here to the Arctic

On The Road

Canada has scheduled a federal election on Oct. 14.
Some of you may react to that news with a yawn.  You track state or federal issues in the U.S., and that's it.
But more government affairs offices are paying attention to issues up north.
Legicrawler gets more and more inquiries about bills originating from the federal Parliament in Ottowa, the ten provinces, and, yes, even from the three territories.
That's because, like next-door neighbors who get along, Canada and the U.S. exchange things -- a lot.  The two countries "share bigger trade flows -- over a billion dollars a day -- than any two countries in history," reports the Financial Post.
Thus the growing desire to keep an eye on legislative trends in Canada, too.
Canada has parliamentary governance, so elections occur when a ruling coalition cannot move legislation as desired.
The prime minister, Stephen Harper, is a Conservative whose party holds less than half of the seats in Parliament.  Opposition leaders assert that Harper had agreed to schedule the next election for the fall of 2009.
In a parliamentary democracy, an earlier election under these circumstances is known as a "snap election. "Harper justifies the timing by arguing that, among other things, the opposition's environmental goals pose a threat to the economy.
At issue is the government's environmental policy.  Harper favors cap and trade, under which the government limits hazardous emissions while market participants receive or trade credits for efficiencies.  Implemented in Europe, the system is contemplated by both major presidential candidates in the U.S. (where one version already limits acid rain, and modest regional programs are in effect).
Canada's primary opposition leader, Stephane Dion (Liberal Party), argues for a different approach, what he calls a "Green Shift."  He would impose a carbon tax offset by "revenue neutral" tax cuts elsewhere. 
Meanwhile, political life goes on in the provinces.  There, too, one cannot count on regular "election cycles" like in the U.S.
But like states in the U.S., provinces can serve as laboratories for new concepts. For example, British Columbia now has a carbon tax, which applies to "virtually all fossil fuels," according to the Vancouver Sun (although elements of BC's tax differ from Dion's Green Shift carbon tax.)
*NOTE: 'O Canada' is the correct spelling -- not 'Oh Canada.' The Parliament
of Canada approved the song as the national anthem in 1967.

San Francisco:

State Capital
Global Law Firm Group
2008 Annual Meeting
October 2-4


American Legislative
Exchange Council
2008 Annual Meeting
July 30 - August 1


Past Editions:

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

    Fresh from an exhibit in Chicago in August, Legicrawler will give a presentation to the State Capital Global Law Firm Group 2008 Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
    Legicrawler's Beckie Krantz, CEO, and Dennis Krantz, President, will discuss "Legislative Tracking and Trend Analysis -- Now and Next" at a State Government Relations session on Oct. 4.
    The State Capital Global Law Firm Group includes law firms "in all 50 U.S. state capitals and in capital cities, business markets and financial centers around the world," the Group reports.
    The Annual Meeting kicks off Thursday afternoon, Oct. 2, with welcoming remarks by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.  
    The Legicrawler presentation will focus on legislative tracking techniques and web-based flexibility for government relations experts on the move.

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