In defence of Mark Carney

Paul Boothe says it's vital to remember that at the centre of controversy is someone who dedicated himself to saving Canada from a deep and dangerous recession

As I watch the swirl of online and print stories around the Liberal Party’s flirtation with Mark Carney, I can’t help but wonder whether the writers remember they are talking about the career and future of a real person who dedicated himself to saving Canada from the worst of a deep and dangerous recession.

I don’t fault the journalists. This is their bread and butter. Their job is to report the facts as they understand them, without regard for what others will do with them. For academics, occupying a privileged position in public discourse, I believe it is critical to remember the power of the pen for good and evil and our responsibility to be considered and measured in the professional opinions we express.

As a former central banker, I understand very well the value of central bank independence and credibility. My own view is that I doubt very much that the independence or credibility of the Bank of Canada has been impaired.

It may be true that Mark Carney was intrigued by the entreaties of Liberal organizers. I have no way of knowing.  I do know that he stated clearly that he was not interested in leaving the Bank of Canada to lead a political party. It may be that if he had it to do over, he would choose a different spot to holiday with his family.  Again, I don’t know.

Having worked side-by-side with Mark Carney, I do know that he is a person of enormous talent, energy and most importantly, integrity. He drives a hard bargain, but always with the public good clearly in mind. From personal experience, gained working together in the pressure-cooker environment of senior public service, I have come to trust Mark to use his talent and energy to always do what he believes is right for Canada. Nothing I have read has shaken my confidence in his purpose or his integrity. I will be sad to see him to go.

Paul Boothe is professor and director of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

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