Quebec court rules against securities regulator

MONTREAL — Quebec’s top court says Ottawa’s plan to set up a national securities regulator is unconstitutional.

The provincial government asked the Quebec Court of Appeal in the summer of 2015 to look into the legality of the federal plan after arguing securities regulation falls under provincial jurisdiction.

A majority of the five justices who studied the matter ruled in Quebec’s favour on Wednesday.

Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Yukon have all signed on to the proposed national regulator which, if implemented, would be expected to help oversee stock markets by policing abuses and securities fraud.

Canada is the only G20 country without a national regulator — a fact that can be attributed to the country’s Constitution, which places securities regulation squarely in the realm of provincial jurisdiction.

Proponents of a national regulator say centralizing the process would cut red tape for publicly traded companies and for investors. They also claim it would give smaller jurisdictions access to a more robust regulatory regime.

Opponents say Ottawa is attempting to seize power away from the provinces.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled a previous plan was unconstitutional, but hinted that structuring the regulator as a co-operative model —where provinces can choose whether to participate — would make the proposal fair game.

Ottawa’s newest proposal is called the Co-operative Capital Markets Regulator.

The Quebec government referred two questions to the appeals court.

The first dealt with whether the Constitution authorizes the implementation of a pan-Canadian securities regulation under the authority of one body, according to the proposed model.

Four of the five justices, including Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler, said it does not, while Justice Mark Schrager abstained.

“The mechanism for amending the Uniform Act…fetters the parliamentary sovereignty of the participating provinces and is consequently unconstitutional,” Duval Hesler wrote.

“It subjects the province’s legislative jurisdiction to the approval of an external entity (the council of ministers), which is impermissible.”

The council would oversee the work of the securities regulator.

The court was also asked to rule on whether the Capital Markets Stability Act, one specific aspect of the proposed overall regime, exceeded Parliament’s authority.

While the four majority justices replied No, they said four particular sections concerning the role and powers of the council of ministers, if not removed, would render the act unconstitutional as a whole.

Quebec’s Government House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier said he hoped the federal government would stop trying to create a national regulator.

“I hope this ruling sends a clear message to Ottawa,” he said.

Fournier added there is no need to touch the country’s current decentralized system.

“There is no reason to upset the system because it works,” he said.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

The cost of flushing sanitary wipes is brought to Red Deer city council

More public education is needed about what not to flush down toilets

Veterans’ Park barrier key to pedestrian safety, says Red Deer traffic engineer

The recently roughed-up concrete barrier in front of Veterans’ Park has seen… Continue reading

Man accused of home invasion in court

Victim was shot and cut with machete in September 2017 attack

WATCH: Rebels play floor hockey with Annie L. Gaetz students

The Rebels may be on a losing streak but they were definitely… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month