No conflict in Carney vacation with Liberal: Bank of Canada

Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:16pm EST
 

By Louise Egan and Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney did not breach conflict of interest policy by vacationing at the home of a Liberal Party lawmaker, his chief spokesman said on Monday, following a report that the visit occurred while the opposition party was seeking to recruit him.

Carney, who will become the Bank of England governor in July, finds himself at the center of controversy after the Globe and Mail newspaper reported new details on Saturday about the Liberals' efforts earlier this year to woo him into running for leadership of the third-place political party.

A Bank of Canada spokesman confirmed the report that Carney and his family stayed at Liberal legislator and finance critic Scott Brison's home in Nova Scotia during part of their summer vacation.

The news led some analysts to question Carney's judgment and the central bank's political independence. The spokesman said Carney and Brison had been personal friends for about a decade.

"The Bank of Canada's general counsel, who is responsible for enforcing the bank's conflict of interest policy, has assessed that this visit does not breach the bank's conflict of interest guidelines in any way," the spokesman, Jeremy Harrison, said in a statement.

"Neither the Bank of Canada, nor Governor Carney, have an actual or potential commercial or business relationship with Mr. Brison," the statement said. "Mr. Carney's acceptance of hospitality provided by a personal friend does not arise out of ‘activities associated with official bank duties'. Nor can it be defined as partisan or political activity."

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Brison, along with a number of other senior party members, have expressed interest in seeing Carney lead the Liberal Party.

The article cited unnamed Liberal officials as saying Carney asked questions about the race. The bank said it would not comment on anonymous citations.   Continued...

 
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney speaks to the business community during a luncheon in Toronto, December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch