Opinion

A Pan-Canadian Securities Commission: Liberals’ Spineless Reaction


A Pan-Canadian Securities Commission: Liberals’ Spineless Reaction

The battle led by Quebec against the creation of a Pan-Canadian securities commission is long-standing. Quebec’s government, particularly under the direction of former Prime Minister Jean Charest, has always put its foot down and demanded of Ottawa to respect Quebec’s autonomy in this matter.

Coalition Avenir Québec is not single to observe that since the nomination of Philippe Couillard, the Liberals are troubled when time comes to defend Quebec’s interests.

While the Trudeau government has clearly expressed its intentions, in early 2016, regarding the implementation of a national commission, I stand skeptical towards the attention and relentlessness that the Couillard government will demonstrate facing this issue.

A Softening Position.  

 It is frustrating to see the Canadian government insist stubbornly on establishing a system that Quebec has historically rejected.

Despite the clear judgement of the Supreme Court in 2011, which ruled in black and white that securities regulation is of provincial jurisdiction and that a Pan-Canadian commission would constitute a “massive intrusion” by the federal government, Justin Trudeau intends to resuscitate the project by persuading his provincial and territorial counterparts.

I sincerely thought that Quebecers were unanimous in the refusal to a Pan-Canadian securities commission. The facts and actions of Finance Minister, Carlos Leitão, are proving more and more that the legitimate grudge manifested by Raymond Bachand and Monique Jérôme-Forget is definitely a thing of the past.

In fact, it seems that the Liberal position on that matter has considerably softened with time. Three anecdotes illustrate this well:

First of all, last July, the Couillard government had the firm intention to obstruct every federal bill, specifically by asking Quebec’s Court of Appeal to deal with these matters.

Then, four months later, in midst of the new government`s oath-taking in Ottawa, the Minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão, seemed to steadily retreat, optimistic that Ottawa will turn its coat. The Minister’s hopes were all fur coat and no knickers…

Finally, in the beginning of this year, the Finance Minister refrains to comment on the Trudeau government`s intentions, rather, he send his spokesperson to simply say that he “strongly disagrees” with Ottawa.

Thus, at the present moment, all leads to believe that in 2016, the Couillard government will not make of this federal interference in Quebec’s jurisdiction a theater of operations. We cannot emphasize it enough: Philippe Couillards’ Liberals are incapable of acts for the nation. It leaves to wonder whether the provincial Liberals refuse to do their job in fear of upsetting Justin Trudeau…

As in many other intergovernmental affairs, the reaction of Couillard’s cabinet is excessively weak. It is said in politics that words fly and writings remain. I invite Minister Leitão to stop dithering and to defend, publicly and vigorously, Quebec’s jurisdiction, while revealing his gameplay to prevent for such a Pan-Canadian commission to see the light of day.

Apparently, there are no more nationalists at the PLQ in 2016. There used to be more strength to defend Quebec in this matter, even under the governance of former Prime Minister Jean Charest. It speaks for itself! Recall the honest fight led by Raymond Bachand, a past Finance Minister, who was able to engage at his side officials of Quebec’s business community!

Unfortunately, the protection of Quebec’s national interests by the government seems to have shriveled at the same rhythm as the establishment of the Liberal monopoly, since 2003. The only conclusion is a vivid call to all nationalists to support the CAQ and vigorously protect our interests, for a prosperous Quebec within Canada.