Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says he'll do 'whatever' he can to support the Liberal Party

As speculation about his political future heats up, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney made it clear Friday that he's a big-L Liberal supporter who will do "whatever" he can to advance the party's interests.

Carney praises government social and climate policy and takes a swipe at Conservatives

Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney made it clear during the Liberal Party policy convention Friday that he will do 'whatever' he can to support the party. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE)

As speculation about his political future heats up, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney made it clear Friday that he's a big-L Liberal supporter who will do "whatever" he can to advance the party's interests.

Carney has been touted by some pundits and political observers as a possible future Liberal Party leadership candidate. Until he addressed Liberal delegates at their policy convention tonight, however, his political allegiances weren't widely known.

In a 15-minute address to delegates, Carney praised the government for its climate policies and the Canada child benefit (CCB), a program he said has given Canadian families more "buffers" during times of crisis like the current pandemic.

He also took a thinly veiled swipe at Conservative Party delegates who voted down a resolution at their party policy convention last month to acknowledge that "climate change is real."

"Everyone these days — well, almost everyone — recognizes the climate is changing. But when it comes to politics, you make your own weather," Carney said.

"Canada was going nowhere fast on climate before this government took office. Now, we have a legislative commitment to net zero, and we're the first country in the G20 with a carbon price policy serious enough to make a difference."

The former Goldman Sachs investment banker didn't say whether he'd run for the party in the next election campaign.

"Humility means recognizing the great good fortune I've had growing up and the responsibility of service that comes with that," Carney said.

"That's why I'll do whatever I can to support the Liberal Party in our efforts to build a better future for Canadians," he said.

The moderator of a question and answer session with Carney after his speech, former TV host turned Liberal MP Marci Ien, didn't ask if his pledge to support the party would extend to actually running under the Liberal banner.

Asked earlier Friday if Carney would run as a Liberal candidate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was tight-lipped about the banker's political future.

"The Liberal Party has a long history of welcoming in expert speakers at our conventions from a range of different backgrounds. We're pleased to have someone of the stature of Mark Carney who has been working very hard on among other things the intersection between the global economy and the fight against climate change," Trudeau said.

"It's another example of how we work together to listen to experts, the best and the brightest from around the world as we look at how to continue to focus on getting Canadians through this pandemic and on building back better," he said.

Carney — who led the Bank of Canada from 2008-13 during and after the financial crisis, and later took the reins of the Bank of England during the Brexit process — has been praised for his leadership in tumultuous times.

Since leaving the U.K., Carney has been working as United Nations special envoy for climate action and finance — a job, he said, that involves convincing private sector companies to commit to going net-zero in the coming decades to drive down global greenhouse gas emissions. Carney has likened the climate crisis to a financial crisis — and has urged the financial sector to help tackle the issue.

In a statement, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, the party's jobs critic, slammed Carney, calling him "one of Canada's most well-known elites."

"The irony should not be lost on anyone. After getting chased out of the United Kingdom for billing more than $500,000 in travel expenses for 52 trips to exotic places, often on fossil-fuel-powered jets, Carney will preach to Canadians about the need for higher energy prices. He will also promote trendy new economic experiments that are popular with Davos billionaires," Poilievre said, referencing the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland.

"Now, with Mark Carney back in Canada, he and Justin Trudeau plan to promote risky economic ideas leading to bigger credit card debts and higher taxes. By contrast, Erin O'Toole's Conservatives offer more and better paycheques to secure our future," Poilievre said.


John Paul Tasker

Senior writer

J.P. Tasker is a journalist in CBC's parliamentary bureau who reports for digital, radio and television. He is also a regular panellist on CBC News Network's Power & Politics. He covers the Conservative Party, Canada-U.S. relations, Crown-Indigenous affairs, climate change, health policy and the Senate. You can send story ideas and tips to J.P. at john.tasker@cbc.ca.

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