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Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government had appeared to be softening on the issue of a national securities regulator.Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Alberta's perennial push-back on the idea of a national securities regulator has its roots in the province's long history of jealously guarding control of its oil and gas resources.

Premier Alison Redford's Progressive Conservative government had appeared to be softening on the issue, though, so it is not known yet how getting blindsided by the federal finance minister and two other provinces with a new plan might influence its moves.

"My expectation is that there is probably still work to do if any of the jurisdictions that want to see a regulator would like Alberta to be involved," Ms. Redford said.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Thursday he struck a deal with Ontario and B.C. to create a new securities regulator that covers roughly two-thirds of Canadian capital markets, reigniting a long scuffle over the issue.

The three governments said the other provinces and territories will be invited to join the new "co-operative" regulator, which would be operational by 2015.

Doug Horner, Alberta's finance minister, said the other jurisdictions had not been consulted. The announcement came as a surprise, especially as Mr. Horner believed that progress was being made on the issue by the Provincial-Territorial Council of Ministers of Securities Regulation, which is due to meet next week.

Ted Morton, who was minister of finance in former Premier Ed Stelmach's government, said he believes Alberta will take a wait-and-see approach to the initiative, while making sure it maintains control over regulation of its resources.

It is one policy area where the East-West divide lives on.

"It's no secret that the big push for a national regulator has always come out of Bay Street, it's always been championed by the federal treasury department and it's always been understood that the new national regulator would be centred in Toronto," said Mr. Morton, who is now executive fellow at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy.

"We know that when it comes to regulating securities, and assessing both risk and opportunity, local knowledge matters. And when it comes to the oil and gas industry, and also the oil service sector and pipelines and utilities, Calgary is the centre of that knowledge for Canada."

That position is unlikely to change, and Alberta views the current passport system of securities regulation as effective for raising capital and protecting investors. "We've always taken a 'don't fix it if it's not broken'" stance, he said.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that imposing a single regulator on all the provinces and territories would be unconstitutional.

The main difference with the new scheme is that provinces won't need to cede control over securities to the federal government. Instead, each province would pass matching legislation to retain ultimate legislative authority over the sector.

Mr. Morton said he would not have expected B.C. to join in the initiative as a founding participant as its expertise with mining is similar to Alberta's in energy.

"Ontario's always wanted this, it makes sense for the six smaller provinces, Quebec will never join and B.C.'s a little bit surprising," he said.