Take that, Bay Street: no securities regulator headquarters for you

Take that, Bay Street: no securities regulator headquarters for you

Bay Street: nothing to regulate here (Image: Neil Ta, from the torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Chalk one up for passive-aggressive politics. One of Stephen Harper’s signature projects since taking office has been the creation of a single, national securities regulator to replace the hodgepodge of provincial bodies that currently deal with white-collar crime. The logical place for a financial regulator is in Toronto (Canada’s business and financial capital). Mr. Harper, however, is balking at such an idea—as are Quebec and Alberta. As the Globe and Mail reports, the country is going to get something fairly ridiculous instead.

The new regulator would not have a head office at all under the plan drafted by Mr. Hyndman, the sources said. Instead, the regulator would operate from regional offices across Canada.

Offices would initially be set up in Toronto and Vancouver, cities in the two provinces that have agreed to participate in a single regulator, the sources said. Additional offices would be added in major cities as other provinces, which have the option of voluntarily joining the national system, sign on.

So instead of having a balkanized system of provincial regulation, Canada will have a balkanized system of federal regulation—and a voluntary one at that?

Toronto probably doesn’t want to or need to be known as the nation’s capital of intrusive financial regulation, but some things only make sense. There’s a reason we don’t put the Canadian Coast Guard’s emergency rescue hub in Winnipeg.

Ottawa’s new securities pitch: One watchdog, several offices [Globe and Mail]
• Bay Street snubbed in Stephen Harper’s stock watchdog plan [Toronto Star]