Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Tiff Macklem appears at a Commons finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Morneau names Tiff Macklem new Bank of Canada governor

The central bank has slashed its target overnight interest rate to 0.25 per cent

Tiff Macklem, a former second-in-command at the Bank of Canada, is returning to the central bank to take over the top job at a moment that he says cries out for bold, unprecedented responses to the economic crisis fuelled by COVID-19.

And he suggested that once the current crisis passes, a key focus for the bank will be how climate change will shape the economy, productivity, spending, and ultimately prices.

But seated alongside the man he will replace, Stephen Poloz, and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Macklem said there is a “need to try and overwhelm the crisis” to stabilize the economy and “restore confidence.”

So far, the central bank has slashed its target overnight interest rate to 0.25 per cent and started an unprecedented bond-purchasing program to fund federal fiscal stimulus that stands at over $146 billion.

All of that would qualify as “bold, unconventional policy responses” that embrace the idea that “you’ve got to think beyond the normal responses,” said Macklem, now the dean of the business school at the University of Toronto.

He cautioned against negative interest rates, calling them too disruptive for an already disrupted financial system, adding he was comfortable with 0.25 per cent being as low as the bank would go.

“It’s really critical that credit keep flowing, that (businesses) can borrow money to get them through this and a critical function of the Bank of Canada is to provide the liquidity to keep the financial system functioning,” Macklem said.

“As the restrictions are lifted, the economy will start to bounce back, it’s not going to be a snap back to normal. It’s going to be a phased approach, where this virus is going to be out there for some time and the Bank of Canada will play its role.”

The bank controls the country’s money supply, trying to support economic growth and stability while keeping inflation on target. As well, the governor’s statements about the economy and the financial system set trends and move markets — all roles Macklem knows well.

Macklem was the No. 2 at the Bank of Canada just over a decade ago as Canada emerged from the global financial crisis, and played a senior role within the central bank during the crisis itself. Claire Kennedy, who chaired the bank’s recruitment committee that recommended Macklem, said in a statement that background was part of the reason Macklem was tapped for the job.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said what the bank and government were looking for was “someone with the deep expertise and understanding not only of the Canadian economy, but the global economy and the current challenge.”

Macklem has taken an interest in recent years in the role of artificial intelligence in the economy, as well as climate change. Last year, he led a government-struck panel that recommended the creation of tax credits to encourage Canadians to put their retirement savings into climate-conscious investments.

“Climate change is a major force that’s going to be impacting the economy, like globalization, like technological change,” Macklem said Friday.

“We will be looking at climate change along with a host of other major economic forces acting on the economy to the extent that they affect inflation.”

By naming Macklem as the bank’s 10th governor, the government highlighted the need for ”institutional stability” at the Bank of Canada, wrote CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld, and he is unlikely to represent a major change at the central bank.

Born in Montreal, Macklem was considered a top candidate to become governor in 2013, but was passed over when Poloz was appointed. Similarly, Carolyn Wilkins, the bank’s current No. 2, was considered high on the list of successors when Poloz steps down from the job on June 2.

Poloz called leaving the his dream job as governor “bittersweet.”

“Every governor understands that you are a steward,” he said, “and handing over the reins to someone as capable as Tiff Macklem means the bank and its role in supporting Canadians is in solid hands.”

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Banking

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

KUTE expands service to accept paper products

Prior to May 23 the facility had only been accepting cardboard since it reopened on April 22

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

Locals getting good grades when it comes to social distancing: RCMP

The local detachment said the public has been responsible with adhering to COVID-19 practices

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read