Mark Carney declared himself a Liberal on Friday, telling party loyalists that he will do whatever he can to support the government’s agenda.
The former Bank of Canada governor, who has long been courted to run for the Liberals, stopped short of saying whether he plans to make a foray into federal politics.
“To me, humility means recognizing the great good fortune that I’ve had growing up and the responsibility of service that comes with that,” Mr. Carney said at the Liberal convention, which is being held virtually. “That’s why I’ll do whatever I can to support the Liberal Party in our efforts to build a better future for Canadians.”
In his speech, Mr. Carney also praised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for bringing forward the Canada Child Benefit, a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age, and for believing in a price on pollution.
Mr. Carney, who also served as governor of the Bank of England from 2013 to 2020, said that politicians who “worship the market” tend to deliver policies that hurt people. Markets do not have value, he said, saying that people do instead.
“It’s our responsibility to close the gap between what we value and what the market price is,” he said.
“That is the work of politics. That’s the work you do when you convince your neighbours to support a candidate who put a price on pollution because the market doesn’t. Or when you created the Canada Child Benefit because the market left a million Canadian kids in poverty.”
Mr. Carney also said he didn’t choose to cite those policy examples by accident, calling them two of the most important policies of our lifetimes.
When asked on Friday if he hoped Mr. Carney would run for the Liberals in the next election, the Prime Minister did not answer directly, saying his party has a long history of welcoming expert speakers at conventions.
“One of the things that we’ve always done is brought in strong voices who contribute to our reflections – sometimes partisans, sometimes independent – but always they feed the discussions that we have,” he said.
Mr. Carney has been appearing in media interviews in recent weeks to promote his book Value(s): Building a Better World for All. During his interview with The Globe and Mail in March, he didn’t rule out a future political role for himself.
The 56-year-old economist is currently the vice-chair of Brookfield Asset Management and head of ESG and impact-fund investing. Mr. Carney is also the United Nations’ special envoy for climate action and finance. He is living in Ottawa now with his family.
Before the former bank governor’s speech, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre put out a release saying that the Liberals are rolling out the “red carpet for their next party leader, Mark Carney.” The Conservatives also referred to him as one of Canada’s most-well-known elites.
“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,” he said. “By contrast, Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives offer more and better paycheques to secure our future.”
In a little more than a week, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will table a budget set to detail the government’s spending plans.
Ottawa hasn’t presented a budget in two years. The fiscal blueprint on April 19 is expected to provide more information on pandemic spending, the state of the country’s finances, as well as programs including a national child-care plan.
The federal NDP issued a release on Friday citing a series of commitments that the Liberal Party has not yet delivered on, including child care.
“It’s not enough to just talk about it,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said. “We need to be more than just open to it. We need a concrete commitment.”
With a report from Bill Curry