Opposition to Canada securities regulator grows

* Strong opposition to single national regulator

* Alberta says no plans for regional watchdog

* Federal government still committed to plan

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 25 (BestGrowthStock) – The Canadian
government’s plan to establish a single national securities
watchdog is facing increasing opposition from the country’s
provinces, many of whom are determined to keep their own
regulators in place.

Alberta and Quebec have branded Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty’s plan to bring the country’s fractured securities
regulation system under federal control as an unwarranted
expansion of Ottawa’s power.

Media reports on Thursday said Alberta is mulling the
creation of a regional commission with the neighboring province
of Saskatchewan. However Alberta denied it was considering the
move and was happy with the country’s “passport system”, where
a firm’s registration with one province is valid elsewhere.

“Our preference is for the current system,” said Bart
Johnson, a spokesman for Alberta Finance Minister Ted Morton.

Ontario, the country’s business and financial center and
the home of the Toronto Stock Exchange, supports the creation
of an single regulator. However, other provinces are leaning
towards the Alberta and Quebec position, which would see the 13
provinces and territories retain their own regulator.

Rosann Wowchuk, Manitoba’s finance minister, said on
Thursday that her province is also opposed to the federal plan
but is willing to talk to other provinces about alternatives.

“Our goal is to have a strong securities system,” she said.
“I’ll talk to the minister of finance for Saskatchewan and
Alberta and we’ll continue to work in the best interest of all
of our jurisdictions.”

British Columbia has said it supports the creation of a
single national regulator, but the head of the province’s
independent securities regulator signaled this week it now has
problems with the idea.

A national regulator might not pay enough attention to
Canada’s small and venture capital markets, which have been the
focus of British Columbia and Alberta regulators, said Paul
Bourque, executive director of the British Columbia Securities
Commission.

“We doubt that any national regulator would intentionally
put any of this at risk. However, a national regulator is going
to have its hands full on issues affecting primarily
senior markets and participants in those markets,” Bourque told
a Rotary Club in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Despite the opposition from some provinces, the federal
government is proceeding with its plans for a national
regulator, though it is awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on the
constitutionality of the scheme.

“We at the federal government have moved the issue further
down the field than ever before in the history of Canada, so we
are the federal government that has accomplished more on this
subject than any previous government. The matter is now
referred to the courts,” Flaherty said.

“A couple of the provinces have taken a different position
than the federal government and that’s their right … The best
road here is to take all of these 13 securities commissions and
bring them into one national securities commission.”

($1=$1.01 Canadian)
(Reporting by Scott Haggett, Alan Dowd, Rod Nickel and Jeffrey
Hodgson)

Opposition to Canada securities regulator grows