Toronto is the Wayne Gretzky of Canada’s financial markets and should be home to a new national securities regulator, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday.

Quebec may complain it would be hurt by the creation of a single regulator, but Toronto is the country’s leader in financial services and is the natural home for the new body, said McGuinty.

“I’m sure that secretly some of Wayne Gretzky’s bench mates complained when he got too much ice time, but the coach kept putting him on the ice because he kept scoring goals,” McGuinty said. “The leading goal scorer when it comes to banking and financial institutions in this country is Toronto, Ontario. We can do it, and we can do it well for the benefit of the whole team, Canada.”

The Ontario premier wasn’t moved by a study commissioned by a coalition of Quebec’s business leaders, released Monday, which warned the creation of a single securities regulator would threaten thousands of jobs in Quebec.

“I understand they have a different perspective on this in Quebec than the one we have here, but I think ours in Ontario is shared with many other parts of the country,” said McGuinty. “I think most folks who take a look at this will come to the conclusion that we should just have one body, and it turns out we’re really good at this stuff right here in this city.”

However, McGuinty said most provinces and territories, and the business community, recognize that having 13 securities regulators instead of just one hurts the country as a whole.

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