Curtis: Is Mark Carney’s move to the Bank of England a loss or a gain for Canada?

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30 November, 2012
By: John Curtis
Adjunct Professor at Queen's University and Chair of Statistics Canada's Advisory Committee on International Trade Statistics

The appointment this week of Mark Carney to become the Governor of the Bank of England effective July 1, 2013 is a loss to Canada but a much larger and more important gain for the United Kingdom and particularly for the global financial system of which Canada is a part.

Mark has done an admirable job in his position as Governor of the Bank of Canada over the past five years; he has executed monetary policy skillfully given the financial crisis that he walked into as he started and since. Further, and perhaps most importantly, Mark articulated the economic situation and policies clearly and firmly to a very worried public. In other words, he made economics understandable and not overly threatening to both business and consumers during a very difficult, uncertain time. Given the financial regulations and the structures of Canadian banking and other institutions that he inherited from earlier governments, and consequent good performance of this sector internationally, he was also able to credibly and in a very Canadian way “sell” Canada’s best practices experience in fora such as the G-20, the G-7, the BIS, IMF and elsewhere – in this absolutely key sector, Canada clearly punched above its weight internationally during Mark’s tenure.

Some of this public diplomacy success Canada now might well lose with Mark’s departure; the financial institutional and regulatory structures as well as competent policy and analytic capability underlying it nevertheless will remain in place. So while Canada loses a little on the margin, and an attractive personality is leaving, the global financial system, so important to Canadians and to all citizens of the world, gains.

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