UPDATE 2-More Canadian provinces join plan for national securities watchdog

Wed Jul 9, 2014 11:55am EDT
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(Adds sharp disagreement from Alberta; support from bankers' group)

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, July 9 (Reuters) - Two more provinces, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, signed up on Wednesday for a plan to create a national securities regulator in Canada, joining Ontario, British Columbia and the federal government in a project designed to end a patchwork of local regulation.

At a signing ceremony in Ottawa, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver called on Canada's other six provinces and three territories to take part in the plan, which he called an important nation-building project. "Canada has a problem," he said, with 13 provincial and territorial regulators instead of one common one.

"Today's agreement is a major step towards a single regulator, national in scope, that will enhance Canada's capital markets," he stated.

However, Wednesday's announcement provoked an angry response from the powerful oil-producing province of Alberta, which argued that it was making things worse.

"Today's announcement confirms our longstanding fear that Ottawa will proceed with changes to Canada's securities regulation system without the support of two of its largest markets, Alberta and Quebec," Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner said in a statement.

"This will leave Canada with a more fractured system than the one we have today. We do not believe that four provinces constitute a critical mass of support for a change of this magnitude."

The new regulator is scheduled to start up in the autumn of 2015. Draft legislation is scheduled to be published by Aug. 29 this year.   Continued...