Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Delay Casts Air of Suspense over Bank of Canada Governor Selection

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Delay Casts Air of Suspense over Bank of Canada Governor Selection

Article excerpt

Delay casts air of suspense over BoC choice


OTTAWA - With the announcement due in days, the overwhelming odds remain that second-in-command Tiff Macklem will be appointed the next governor of the Bank of Canada.

Yet the nearer the date approaches to Mark Carney's June 1 departure for London, questions are being asked about what is taking Finance Minister Jim Flaherty so long to confirm what markets and economists have long considered a near slam dunk.

It's been a full five months since Flaherty has known his first appointee to the central bank was taking his leave early, and even though the finance minister said there would be no shortcuts in the search for a successor, few expected it would take this long.

"Handicapping this is like trying to handicap a Harlem Globetrotters game. I'd give it about 85 per cent probability," says Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter.

But, he then adds: "I will say the fact it's dragged out this long makes me wonder if there is an issue, here. Why has it taken five months?"

Many in the Bank of Canada, who are said to be pulling strongly for the likable Macklem, are on pins and needles about the delay, according to insiders.

Adding to the suspense -- and doubts -- is the fact that the last time Flaherty had a choice to make about the governor, he plucked a relative dark horse out of his department rather than do as expected by promoting then senior deputy Paul Jenkins.

The search process has been run by a separate board of directors of the central bank in secrecy so tight that until Macklem himself surprisingly let it be known at a committee meeting last week that "If asked, I will serve," nobody outside the inner circle even knew for certain who had applied. It is believed that Flaherty got a short list of the potential candidates a few weeks ago and has completed the interviews.

Still, the rumour mill has the 51-year-old senior deputy, who's full name is Richard Tiffany Macklem, the prohibitive favourite.

A recent Reuters poll of 16 analysts unanimously named Macklem a front-runner. Well back in second was Stephen Poloz, the head of Export Development Canada with seven votes and Jean Boivin, a former deputy governor currently at Finance in third with four. Others who made the list were deputy governors Timothy Lane and Agathe Cote, Andrew Spence, managing director at the Toronto-based OMERS pension fund, Bill Robson of the C.D. Howe Institute, and Darrell Duffie, an influential economist professor at Stanford University.

There are likely other candidates, such as respected McGill University economist Christopher Ragan, but few know for certain and the individuals themselves are not saying.

"If you think about all the qualities you are looking for in a governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem has a check in every box. …

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