Maclean’s Profiles Cass R. Sunstein, Highlights Value of Regulatory Cooperation

Maclean’s offers a fantastic piece by Luiza Ch. Savage profiling former Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) head Cass R. Sunstein.  

A stylistic gem, the article also shows the value of Canadian-U.S. regulatory cooperation–a goal Canada and the United States are accomplishing through the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).

From the article:

Cass Sunstein, a well-known Harvard law professor and long-time friend of Obama’s, is also married to Samantha Power, recently confirmed as ambassador to the United Nations. Since leaving government, he’s written a book, Simpler: The Future of Government, that is part memoir and part manifesto for injecting innovative economic theories into the DNA of government. He is, as may be clear by now, a smart and well-connected man. And he believes greater alignment between Canada and the U.S. is not just inevitable, but necessary.

He arrived in his job just as Canada and the U.S. were ramping up a bilateral effort at regulatory co-operation. In an interview with Maclean’s, Sunstein spoke about his experiences working with Canada. “On many issues, Canadians, Americans don’t disagree on values or facts,” he observed over a brunch of bagels and cream cheese in a Georgetown café. “When there are different regulatory standards that end up hurting consumers or companies, it’s because of a failure to coordinate.”

“You could have coordination that produces the lowest common denominator, or you could have coordination that produces very aggressive regulation. Since President Obama is enthusiastic about cost-benefit analysis—and I encountered no skepticism on the part of my Canadian counterparts—what would come would not be necessarily the lowest common denominator or the most stringent approach, but an approach that would come out of a careful analysis of which was best,” he said.

His goal with Canada was to entrench long-term co-operation. “We tried to do two things: create structures going forward in which we talk to each other as we issue new rules. And that’s very doable. And we tried to take existing rules so that they square with one another a bit better. I think the prize is the coordination in advance.”


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