| TORONTO, April 3
TORONTO, April 3 Alberta is working to build
support among fellow Canadian provinces for a proposed
alternative to a national securities regulator, establishment of
which the resource-rich province has long opposed, its finance
minister said on Thursday.
In September, the federal government launched a unified
regulatory regime intended to replace the patchwork of
provincial securities regulation that now exists across the
country. So far only Ontario and British Columbia have signed on
to the new regime, which provinces are not required to join.
Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner's proposal would
establish a national enforcement agency and adjudicator
tribunal, both headquartered in Toronto, Ontario's capital and
the hub of Canada's capital markets. But the plan would leave
day-to-day regulation to individual provinces.
Ottawa has tried for decades to persuade Canada's 10
provinces and three territories to create a national regulator
similar to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The
country has been criticized by the International Monetary Fund
and others for being the only advanced economy without a
national capital markets regulator.
"We think it solves the issue the federal minister put
forward. We think that it opens the door for Ontario to join
into the national system," Horner said, referring to the
so-called passport system in which all the provinces but Ontario
have agreed to recognize each other's rulings.
Alberta's position underscores the challenge the federal
government still faces in getting consensus on the issue.
Horner said that over the past month he has held preliminary
talks on Alberta's proposal with his counterparts in Ontario and
Alberta accounts for 25 percent of Canada's total market
capitalization due in large part to the province's stable of
energy and mining companies, compared with Ontario's 41 percent.
The issue of who should regulate companies incorporated in
different parts of the country has gone all the way to the
Supreme Court, which ruled in 2011 that it was unconstitutional
for Ottawa to impose a national regulator on the provinces and
As a result, the federal government dropped its unilateral
approach in favor of the cooperative format with willing
Horner said he was worried that Ottawa would continue to
move ahead with that format, while ignoring concerns raised by
Alberta and Quebec, which also fiercely resists the federal
Horner said he was also prodding the federal government to
provide more clarity to rules on foreign takeovers in Alberta's
oil sands, development of which he estimates will require C$350
billion ($318 billion) in investment capital over the next 25
(Editing by Frank McGurty; and Peter Galloway)