The Globe and Mail reports in its Monday edition that two landmark decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada mean this country is unlikely to have a truly national securities watchdog -- as virtually every other industrialized country does.
The Globe's Barrie McKenna writes that unless all provinces and territories join, Canada will not rid itself of the inherent flaws in its fractured regime. The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the federal government cannot impose a single national regulator on the entire country. Earlier this month, the court gave Ottawa and the provinces the green light to proceed with the Capital Markets Regulatory Authority, which would cover roughly half the country.
The ruling was hailed by some as paving the way for a national securities regulator. Hardly. So far, just six provinces and one territory have agreed to join, but not Quebec and Alberta. That means two of the four largest regional capital markets will remain outside the regulatory fence, perhaps forever.
Half a regulator, like half a fence, won't do the job. The Supreme Court is clearly defending the sometimes messy reality of co-operative federalism, but in doing so, it has left Ottawa and the provinces with no good way forward.
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