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The Progressive Economics Forum

Internal trade hypocrisy

If you have visited this blog before you probably know that Erin Weir and I have it in for bogus arguments about alleged but unproven interprovincial trade barriers. Give us some examples, we say, but the rhetoric of trade barriers always seems to trump any actual evidence. And I’m not even talking about empirical evidence with a high degree of statistical significance; just please give me a few illustrative anecdotes.

But one thing on which Erin and I agree with the federal government is that we should have a national securities regulator. Uploading responsibility to the federal government to harmonize regulations in this area seems to be a no brainer. It is not a trade barrier per se though it is perhaps one of the only cases put forward when Erin and I ask for examples. We are not opposed to solving problems on a case-by-case basis.

Now, both BC and Alberta, signatories of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, or TILMA, reject the federal call for a national securities regulator. Given the big talk about free trade over the past couple years, this is hypocritical to say the least. In favour of continuing with a patchwork of ten regulators, BC and Alberta demonstrate that their talking points on internal “free trade” have no substance.

Provinces resist national regulator

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is struggling to win converts as he pushes ahead with plans to draft legislation that would create a national securities regulator.

As Mr. Flaherty prepares for a meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts this week, Ontario remains his only ally three months after appointing former federal cabinet minister Tom Hockin to lead a panel that will propose a bill by the end of the year.

Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba and the other provinces are sticking with their plan to entrench a so-called passport system, which commits the various jurisdictions to recognize the decisions of each other’s securities regulators. Ontario alone refused to join when the system was devised in 2004.

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Comments

Comment from Travis Fast
Time: May 28, 2008, 7:31 am

Maximal degree of freedom for capital + minimal degree of power for democracy = TILMA. To wit, there is no contradiction here.

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