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National Securities Commission

Honourable senators, yesterday during Question Period, Senator Hervieux-Payette asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate about our plans for a national securities commission. She said in part:

. . . the Prime Minister is stubbornly going ahead with his plan to create a single commission even though it is neither sensible nor in the interests of the provinces, including Quebec, which wants nothing to do with it. In light of growing opposition on the part of Quebec business leaders, can the minister tell us when her government, specifically her Prime Minister, will reconsider this proposal, which is neither desired nor desirable . . .

This is a rather rich position for someone to take who was a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce in 2006 when that committee issued its report on consumer protection in the financial services sector. It is a rich position for the senator who was a member at a time when her side had a majority in both the committee and the Senate, and the person chairing the Banking Committee was a Liberal. Other Liberal members from Quebec on that committee were Senators Biron, Goldstein and Massicotte. Our own Senator Angus from Quebec was Deputy Chair at the time.

In that report, the committee recommended:

The federal government take a leadership role and invite provincial/territorial governments and Canada's securities commissions to meet expeditiously with a view to establishing a common securities regulator no later than June 30, 2007. In the interim, efforts to harmonize securities regulation should be accelerated.

The good senator, in her supplementary question yesterday, continued to attack something she had already recommended by asking:

When will the leader's government table a study that will demonstrate, beyond any reasonable doubt, that we need that regulator and it is not for political purposes?

The answer is that the study was tabled in June 2006 by a committee of which the honourable senator was an active member. As to the question of using the issue for political purposes, I think it is pretty clear, in light of what I have said, who exactly is doing that.