Should Green Queen head securities commission?

There isn’t much security in the Canadian securities industry, so federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s announcement to create a national regulator is a good idea. Or is it?

Queen Elizabeth III

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, believes it is a good idea.

“The Green Party led the charge in calling for the needed step of a national securities regulator and we are pleased to see Minister Flaherty championing the idea,” said Ms. May. “With all of the other G20 countries already having such a system in place, Canada’s step forward will foster confidence in our markets and show that Canada is an excellent place for investment.”

Regardless how confident Ms. May may be in the concept of a federal securities regulator, if a projected regulator plods along with the same level of zeal  as parliament’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioners Office, start putting your money under the mattress.

Without enforcement of national standards in the securities arena, it matters little whether there is a national regulator. When Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s office will not disclose income sources for MPs,  you know the entire federal government needs more stuff and less bluff.

Recently, Lockeblog described how parliament created a conflict of ethics code to, amongst other things, disclose summary details of MPs and public office holders’ income. The goal was transparency. However, since the creation of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s office in 2006, income details of government officials have been hidden from public view.

I’m still awaiting an answer from Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commisioner Mary Dawson’s office as to why transparency has become opaque.

Regardless, the real question is: Why do certain provinces object to a proposed federal regulator? What difference does it make to an investor who is protecting the integrity of the market? So long as someone is watching the henhouse.

Ms. May may be the perfect candidate to head such a regulatory body.

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