The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that the country's top court has cleared the way for Ottawa and several provinces to move ahead with their plan for a Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System. The Globe's Konrad Yakabuski writes that for Quebec, the Supreme Court of Canada's unanimous ruling is a worst-case scenario that leaves the province in a significantly weakened bargaining position as it seeks to counter the centralization of financial markets expertise and decision-making authority in Toronto. The Supreme Court not only upheld the Quebec Court of Appeal's previous ruling that Ottawa's proposed Capital Markets Stability Act (dealing with systemic risks and financial offences) is constitutional. It also ruled that the Quebec Appeal Court erred in declaring the "model" securities act had "the effect of fettering the sovereignty of the participating provinces' and territories respective legislatures." It remains to be seen how swiftly Finance Minister Bill Morneau acts on the file -- but the legal roadblocks have been removed. The only remaining impediments to a national commission are political ones. Quebec should carve out a niche for itself in a national regulatory system before it is too late.
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