October 13, 2015 / 2:56 PM / 4 years ago

Canada PM says no plans for major change to inflation mandate

Canada's Prime Minister and Conservative leader Stephen Harper speaks at a campaign event at the Martin Family Fruit Farm in Waterloo, October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in the last leg of a tight election race, said on Tuesday that if he retains power he would not be looking at a “substantial change” to the Bank of Canada’s inflation target mandate.

The bank aims to keep inflation at the midpoint of a 1 percent to 3 percent target range. Its target agreement with the federal government is up for a five-year renewal in 2016.

“I can tell you with some certainty that we would not be looking at a substantial change in that mandate, but we will obviously review it and discuss with the governor (of the Bank of Canada) and others whether there should be any kind of adjustment,” Harper told reporters at a campaign stop.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on Monday repeated that the bar for change is high.

The Bank of Canada has an inflation control target agreement with the Canadian government that is renewed every five years.

Polls show that the ruling Conservatives could lose power on Oct. 19 to the opposition Liberals, whose leader Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday the 2 percent target “seems like it’s worked very well in the past.”

“I’m committed to respecting the Bank of Canada and allowing it to set its goals and targets in the independent way it always has. On inflation, it has done a very good job over the past years of keeping things under control,” Trudeau said.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa and Randall Palmer in Toronto; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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