Carney’s Exit

Jennifer Jeffs on how Mark Carney will continue to represent the best of Canada to the world.

By: /
30 November, 2012
By: Jennifer Jeffs

Past President of the Canadian International Council (CIC).

Mark Carney faces some serious challenges and a tough job. The British economy is stagnant, with low growth projections, potentially difficult economic rebalancing, and high inflation. Murky political waters will be tricky to navigate, given a governing coalition with a controversial economic policy. And the Bank of England holds responsibility for banking supervision, as well as monetary and fiscal policy.

But Mark Carney has a brilliant record of delivering results – a record unlikely to fade in his new job. He combines private sector savvy with public-minded commitment to the common good of international financial stability. In doing so, he is furthering Canada’s brand as a safe haven for investment thanks to sound financial management. Under Carney’s watch, Canada has come to be associated with economic stability – a valuable designation in a time of economic turmoil. No doubt his work at the Bank of England (and his continuing chairmanship of the Basel-based Financial Stability Board) will only strengthen this brand abroad.

In the U.K., there was unprecedented near-complete agreement in the House of Commons that Mark Carney’s appointment was a great decision. Covering the announcement there live, the Guardian reported that:

Labour Barry Sheerman comes closest to denting the sense of jubilation in the House of Commons, saying it’s a shame that we couldn’t find a British candidate.[Chancellor of the Exchequer George] Osborne replies that it’s a sign of Britain’s confidence that we can go and get the best person for the job, across the globe. Makes Carney sound like a monetary Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Somewhat characteristically, British commentators drew upon a football analogy. Sven-Göran Eriksson is, by all accounts, a brilliant football manager. He is also Swedish, and was the first foreign coach of the British national football team. His stint as England manager was not without controversy and, after losing a 2006 World Cup qualifying match, Eriksson faced unprecedented pressure to quit. 

The Guardian’s Larry Elliott suggested that if Mark Carney “fails to deliver results he will find that the unanimous approval with which his appointment was greeted on Monday will be rapidly followed by derision. Just ask Sven.”

Meanwhile at home, David Rosenberg compared Carney to Wayne Gretzky – an analogy that speaks directly to Canadians. Carney has had a brilliant, Gretzky-esque record – Chancellor Osborne calls him the “best banker of his generation.” 

However, Canadians trust that Mark Carney will not leave England with a loss, as was the case with Sven-Göran Eriksson, nor will Canada suffer like the post-Gretzky Edmonton Oilers.

Working within our strong financial regulatory system, Carney steered our economy through the crisis, successfully providing liquidity to financial markets without overstimulating them. Inflation has remained low and the Canadian dollar strong. Carney continues to advise us on how to increase our underwhelming productivity performance and diversify our trade and investment. And no one can dispute our soon-to-be former governor’s “winning smile”.

We wish Mark Carney well in his new position, and are proud that he will continue to represent the best of Canada to the world.

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Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

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