Feds create advisory office

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took a major step toward the establishment of a national securities regulator on Monday, creating an advisory office to draft legislation for it.

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took a major step toward the establishment of a national securities regulator on Monday, creating an advisory office to draft legislation for it.

But hurdles remain.

The minister conceded not all the provinces are on board — particularly Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba, which support the current system allowing each province and territory to set the rules and regulation.

Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said his province was reviewing its options, including the courts.

And, the federal Liberals are asking for a Supreme Court reference to determine jurisdiction, something Flaherty dismissed.

“No province or territory is compelled to join . . . (and) we are closing the door on nobody,” he said.

The government will announce a list of “core provinces and territories that will serve on an advisory council in the next few weeks, but the big new fish in the group will be British Columbia, which along with Ontario, comprises over 80 per cent of securities trading in Canada.”

A clear indication of B.C.’s change of mind on the issue came Monday when Flaherty appointed Doug Hyndman, the head of the province’s securities commission since 1987, to head the transition office for the next three years.

Bryan Davies, who has been chairman of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. since 2006 and who held a number of senior positions in the Ontario provincial bureaucracy, was named vice-chairman.

The transition team is charged with drafting legislation for a Canadian regulator within a year, but it is still uncertain how long after a law is drafted that one will be up and running, and how large a territory the new institution will govern.

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