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A worker rests his head on his accountant bag on a bench in the financial district in New York. When one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., went under, the biggest global financial crisis since the Great Depression was on. (Sami Siva for The Globe and Mail)
A worker rests his head on his accountant bag on a bench in the financial district in New York. When one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., went under, the biggest global financial crisis since the Great Depression was on. (Sami Siva for The Globe and Mail)

The 2008 financial crisis: Through the eyes of some major players Add to ...

Flaherty: I remember one of the finance ministers referring to Canada as ‘virtuous Canada.’ But we have to maintain our position; it’s not a given. If we let things slide, if we are irresponsible in a fiscal way, then we could get into some of the trouble other countries have gotten into. And I’ve had some fairly strident debates with some of my colleagues about the inadequacy of their medium-term fiscal plans, and one has to be a little bit careful, because you’re not supposed to show hubris. But I’m not that humble.

 

Downe: I’m a believer that the extraordinary measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which basically flooded the world with money, probably was the single most important factor [in the recovery].

 

Nixon: Everybody wants to take credit for why Canada managed through – the government, the regulators, the central bank, the banks, bank management – and frankly everyone deserves some credit. And frankly Canadians and Canadian culture deserve a lot of credit as well, because I think that was part of the strength of the system. … But, in my judgment, the single most relevant and most important differentiator for Canada was the structure of our residential mortgage market.

 

Vachon: It’s definitely not the end of financial crises. I think there will be more. Will we see something as bad, and as socially impacting as we saw in ’08? I think the odds of that occurring again are very, very low in the next few decades. From my lips to God’s ears on that one.

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THE CAST

Reid Bigland

Then: President of Chrysler Canada Inc.

Now: President of Chrysler Canada, head of U.S. sales

with Chrysler Group LLC, chief executive officer

of the Ram truck brand.

 

Mark Carney

Then: Governor of the Bank of Canada, appointed in

February, 2008. Previously, adviser to then Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge, and senior associate deputy

minister in the Department of Finance.

Now: Governor of the Bank of England.

 

H. Rodgin Cohen

Then and now: Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. He represented Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and others.

 

Dean Connor

Then: President of Canadian operations for Sun Life Financial.

Now: CEO, Sun Life Financial.

 

Leo de Bever

Then and now: CEO, Alberta Investment Management Corp.

 

David Denison

Then: CEO, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Now: Member of the board of directors at BCE Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada.

 

Julie Dickson

Then and now: Superintendent of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

 

David Dodge

Then: Governor of the Bank of Canada, until early 2008, when he retired.

Now: Chancellor of Queen’s University, co-chair of the

Institute of International Finance’s Global Market Monitoring Group.

 

Bill Downe

Then and now: CEO, Bank of Montreal.

 

Jim Flaherty

Then and now: Finance Minister, Government of Canada.

 

Rick George

Then: CEO, Suncor Energy.

Now: Chairman of Penn West Petroleum Ltd.

and Osum Oil Sands Corp.

 

Donald Guloien

Then: Chief investment officer, Manulife Financial Corp.

Now: CEO, Manulife Financial Corp.

 

Jim Leech

Then: Senior vice-president, Teachers’ Private Capital. Named CEO of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in December, 2007.

Now: President and CEO, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

 

Don Lindsay

Then and now: CEO, Teck Resources Ltd.

 

Greg Mills

Then and now: Co-head of the global equities division of RBC Dominion Securities.

 

Gordon Nixon

Then and now: CEO, Royal Bank of Canada.

 

Louis Vachon

Then and now: CEO, National Bank of Canada.

 

Rick Waugh

Then and now: CEO, Bank of Nova Scotia, vice-chairman of the Institute of International Finance.

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