Tories Say Bank of Canada Deserves ‘Ruthless Scrutiny’

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s main opposition Conservatives are ratcheting up pressure on the nation’s central bank, although the party’s new leader has put aside his previous call for the governor’s dismissal.

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Pierre Poilievre, who was overwhelmingly elected by fellow Tories last month to challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has blamed the Bank of Canada for financing the Liberal government’s record-setting pandemic budget deficits.

In May, the 42-year-old firebrand said that if elected prime minister he would fire Governor Tiff Macklem for helping to drive inflation to a multi-decade high.

Poilievre hasn’t called for Macklem’s dismissal since assuming the Conservative leadership. But his procedural chief in the legislature released a 10-minute video Tuesday making clear the central bank was still in the political cross hairs.

The Bank of Canada “literally controls the value of the money that you work so hard to earn, and its policies determine the interest rates that you pay on all the debt that you carry,” Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer said. “Because of that, the bank should be subject to ruthless scrutiny and dispassionate analysis.”

Scheer has proposed legislation that would revoke the central bank’s exemption from scrutiny by the nation’s auditor general. Macklem is scheduled to deliver a speech and hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon, and traders are betting that he will deliver another oversized policy rate hike later this month.

Poilievre and Trudeau aren’t likely to square off in an election until 2025 thanks to a power-sharing deal the prime minister struck with the left-leaning New Democratic Party. But were the Conservatives to win power, Macklem would likely be in an unworkable bind given the open attacks from the Tories.

(Adds details about next election. An earlier version corrected the quote to say “subject” to ruthless scrutiny)

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