Carney on new U.K. role: 'I'm there because I'm Canadian'
Published Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:15AM EST
Outgoing Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says he owes much of his success to his Canadian roots, something he says was key to his selection as chief of Britain’s central bank.
In a candid interview with CTV’s Kevin Newman, Carney said he doesn’t expect to change during his five-year term as the new Bank of England governor.
“I’m there because I’m Canadian, because I’ve had the experiences that I’ve had and to bring a different perspective,” he said.
Carney, 47, said he’s looking forward to the new challenge that await him in England and has every intention of returning to Canada when his term is up.
“This is where my friends are, this is obviously where my family is, and it’s just a natural,” he said. “There’s a big challenge that I’ve been offered. Very much looking forward to it, it will be a great experience for our family as well. But in the end, I’m Canadian and I’ll come back and bother you.”
Carney added that upon his return, he expects he’ll be able to “face the consequences” for the choices he has made as Canada’s top banker – primarily his decision to maintain rock-bottom interest rates in order to keep Canadians borrowing and allow banks to continue lending money.
The Bank of Canada and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty have repeatedly raised concerns about the record-high level of household debt — on average at a debt-to-income ratio of 151 per cent — and what will happen when eventually interest rates begin to increase.
Carney maintains that when global economic demand collapsed in 2008, the economy was only being supported by “extraordinary fiscal measures.”
“So we had to build demand here in Canada,” he said.
Carney said he now believes Canadians are heeding the message to lower debt.
“What we’ve done successfully is we’ve pivoted from stimulating household demand, (the) housing market and household borrowing for consumption, kept employment up and we pivoted to focus on investment and exports,” Carney said. “What we’re seeing without question is a very constructive evolution of Canadians’ attitudes towards debt and towards the housing market. And it is moving towards a much more sustainable equilibrium.”