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Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney will be expected to begin signalling his game plan for monetary policy to buffer the expected fallout from the referendum decision.NEIL HALL

In the smouldering aftermath of Britain's Brexit referendum, Canada's prodigal son on the global financial stage finds himself in a precarious position. And the Brits are darned lucky Mark Carney is there.

In the new EU-divorcing state of the United (for now) Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Mr. Carney is considered an enemy of the state by many on the victorious Leave side of last week's Brexit vote. His opponents in Britain's political power corridors have charged that he overstepped his bounds as Governor of the Bank of England, Britain's powerful central bank, by weighing in on the Brexit campaign and expressing his deep concerns about the economic and financial market consequences of a vote to abandon the European Union.

Never mind that ignoring such a clear and sizable risk to Britain's stability – in the regular economic assessments that are a key part of the central bank's mandated responsibility – would have amounted to serious neglect of duty. Many Leave supporters saw it as a very public picking of political sides by someone in what is supposed to be a politically agnostic office. Worse still, as it unfolded, Mr. Carney picked the wrong side.

But now that Britain has walked into a financial and economic minefield of its own making, it can be thankful it had the foresight, or blind luck, to have hired Mr. Carney. As head of the Bank of Canada, his steady hand in steering the country through the 2007 asset-backed commercial paper panic and the 2008 financial crisis, as well as his leadership on the international Financial Stability Board, gave him a global reputation as one of the best in the financial stability business.

Britain probably didn't have in mind strapping a ticking time bomb to its markets when it hired Mr. Carney, but now that it has pretty much done so, there might not be anyone in the world more capable of defusing it. The best guy for guiding the British financial system through this mess just happens to already be on the job. Serendipity.

Mr. Carney's enemies in the victorious Brexit camp are unlikely to see it that way. Though de facto Leave campaign leader Boris Johnson has, for now, given him a vote of confidence, others have not put away their knives. Some pretty loud voices – including perhaps the loudest of them all, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage – continue to clamour for Mr. Carney's resignation, only three years into his five-year term (which itself was shorter than the usual eight years, by mutual agreement when Mr. Carney accepted the job).

It won't happen. First, because no amount of political heat will change the fact that Mr. Carney has done nothing to warrant dismissal. Second, anyone who has ever crossed paths with Mark Carney knows that he is an intellectual powerhouse and a formidable foe who gives as good as he gets and is adept at getting his way. And third, because about the last thing the Leave leaders need while trying to navigate the treacherous post-referendum waters is to trigger a central-bank crisis to compound their already daunting political one; they'll come to that realization as the high emotions of the campaign fade.

Mr. Carney's most pressing order of business, then, is not to defend his job, but to figure out the best course of monetary policy to stabilize and support the British economy and financial system as it negotiates its new gulf of uncertainty. And he doesn't have a lot of time to do it. Starting with his speech scheduled for Thursday at the Bank of England's headquarters, Mr. Carney will be expected to begin signalling his game plan for monetary policy to buffer the expected fallout from the referendum decision.

After that, he's just two weeks away from the Bank of England's next decision on interest rates. He and the rest of the Monetary Policy Council will have to decide whether a pre-emptive rate cut is in order to lean against the coming economic and financial headwinds, before these winds have arrived and before their magnitude can be any more than an educated guess.

Even once the immediate tumult of the next several months and rate decisions has passed, the British economy and financial markets face potentially years of uncertainty, with, quite likely, periodic panic attacks. Presuming the clock begins relatively soon on Britain's formal negotiations with the EU, the talks may be coming to an emotional and difficult head right around the time Mr. Carney's term as governor is set to expire – potentially a very risky time for a changing of the guard at the Bank of England.

As much as the Brexiters would scoff at it now, they may find themselves two years down the road not holding a retirement party for Mr. Carney, but rather offering him a second term as governor, in the interests of crucial continuity and stability. If they intend to make Brexit a reality under whatever terms, that's right where they are going to want him.