* Finance minister highlights own role in search for chief
* Spokeswoman says interviews by minister not unusual
* No timelines given for decision
By Louise Egan
OTTAWA, Jan 16 Canada's finance minister will
interview candidates for governor of the Bank of Canada, his
office said on Wednesday in an unusual announcement that
highlights the central role the minister intends to play in the
Mark Carney is stepping down as governor of the Bank of
Canada in June to head the Bank of England, and the process of
finding his replacement is under way. Tiff Macklem, currently
the senior deputy governor, is considered the front runner.
An external recruiting firm, Odgers Berndtson, has
advertised the position, and a special committee of the Bank of
Canada's board of directors has the task of compiling a list of
potential candidates for the job.
The federal cabinet must approve all Bank of Canada
The bank's committee will work in "close consultation" with
the finance minister, Jim Flaherty, to review the list of
initial candidates, the statement said on Wednesday.
"Once fully vetted, the special committee will then
recommend a roster of qualified candidates to the minister for
him to interview," the Department of Finance said in a statement
without giving a timeline.
It is standard practice for the finance minister to be
involved in interviewing and meeting with prospective future
governors, but market players don't remember the government ever
being this assertive in stating how active it will be in the
"Ultimately, the government approves the choice of governor,
so I don't see it as unusual for Mr. Flaherty to interview the
top candidates," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at the
Bank of Montreal. "I agree, I don't recall it being broadcast
last time, but that may just be a reflection of the now-intense
focus on the Bank of Canada more generally," he said.
Carney's appointment to the Bank of England was accompanied
by glowing accounts of his role in keeping Canada's economy safe
during the global financial crisis.
The Bank of Canada conducts monetary policy independently of
the government of the day, but the finance minister has the
ultimate authority to overrule the governor in cases of extreme
disagreement, a power that has never been used.
Flaherty's spokeswoman, Kathleen Perchaluk, said on
Wednesday that the finance minister had interviewed candidates
the last time a governor was sought in 2007, when Carney got the
There was no official mention of the action at that time.
The central bank's independence came under scrutiny recently
after reports that Carney vacationed at the home of a Liberal
lawmaker at the same time the opposition party was trying to
recruit the central banker to be its new leader.