Flaherty Says BHP's Potash Bid Shows Need for National Canadian Regulator

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty today said BHP Billiton Ltd.’s bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. shows the need for a national securities regulator.

The bid is “yet another example of the usefulness for Canada of a national securities regulator with a high degree of expertise that is able to deal with global companies bidding on companies that have substantial assets in Canada,” Flaherty told reporters in Dublin during a three-day visit to Ireland. BHP last week launched a $40 billion hostile takeover offer for Potash.

Flaherty has been pushing for Canada to have a national securities regulator replace the current 13 provincial and territorial agencies. Canada is the only member of the Group of Seven industrialized nations without a national securities watchdog, a situation the Flaherty has called an “international embarrassment.”

Flaherty also said he expects Canada’s second-quarter growth to slow from the first quarter’s annualized 6.1 percent pace, which was the fastest in a decade. He said slower growth will last into 2011.

“There has been some relatively weak consumer demand in the U.S., but there are lots of signs in the American economy that are relatively positive,” Flaherty said. “The most likely course is modest, moderate growth in western industrialized economies over the course of the next couple of years.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Dara Doyle in Dublin at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net; Alexandre Deslongchamps in Ottawa at adeslongcham@bloomberg.net.

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