If you thought Canada's "own the podium" mantra for the winter Olympics ran counter to the country's image as a haven of niceness and passivity, wait until you hear how they treat their banks.

Speaking in New York Tuesday, Julie Dickson, Canada's chief financial regulator, described a system in which troubled institutions are given a short leash while they try to work out their problems and corporate ambitions generally are forced to take a back seat to depositor protection. Investment banks answer to the same regulator as the holding companies that own them, and capital requirements and leverage restrictions are, as global standards go, rather robust.

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