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Premiers push back against securities regulator

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach will use the Grey Cup game on Sunday to hatch plans to create a Western Canadian securities regulator, casting fresh doubts on the federal government's push for a national agency.

Stelmach will make his pitch to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall while the two watch the football game together, according to sources familiar with the plan. Wall will be in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium to see his beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders square off against the Montreal Alouettes.

"It would make much more sense for Saskatchewan and Alberta to have a single commission," Alberta Finance Minister Ted Morton said in an interview Wednesday. "Between oil and gas, mining, agriculture and forestry, we have virtually identical profiles."

This is the second time Stelmach and Wall have flexed their muscles to protect the region's vast mineral riches. Earlier this month, Wall led a well-orchestrated campaign - one backed by his Alberta counterpart - to persuade the federal government to turn down a takeover bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan.

Stelmach is now attempting to fight Ottawa's plan to replace Canada's patchwork system of securities regulators - a system that federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty called an "embarrassment." Flaherty insists that a single regulator is critical after the global economic recession.

For its part, Saskatchewan has not formally declared its position on the proposed national regulator.

Stelmach's proposal comes just as opposition to the creation of a national regulator is mounting. Alberta and Quebec have always said they want no part of a federal system. In an affidavit last month, Manitoba also signalled its opposition, and officials in British Columbia and New Brunswick have expressed grave concerns about Ottawa's proposal.

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