Canada’s Finance Minister Defends Bank of Canada Against Opposition Attacks

OTTAWA, May 20 (Reuters) – Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland defended the central bank on Friday as inflation hit its highest level in three decades and the favorite to take over from the opposition, the Parti Conservative, pledges to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada if elected.

“It’s clear to all of us that we’re living in a time of global volatility. We have COVID. We have the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We have China’s zero COVID policy,” Freeland told reporters via teleconference from Munich. , in Germany, after a meeting of the G7.

“In this context, responsible political leadership means reinforcing for Canadians and for the world our Government’s very clear commitment to the independence of the Bank of Canada and our confidence in the Bank of Canada.

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Pierre Poilievre, who leads all polls ahead of a vote in September to elect a new Conservative leader, said he would oust Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem ‘to get inflation under control’ if he became prime minister.

Inflation edged up to 6.8% in April as food price growth hit a four-decade high, increasing pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates quickly to avoid an inflationary spiral. Read more

Separately, Canada said on Friday it was imposing additional sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banning trade in certain luxury goods with Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

Freeland also told reporters that the G7 discussed extensively the “further strengthening” of sanctions against Russia, including the issue of an oil and gas embargo.

“We absolutely recognize that the economic challenge of an oil and gas embargo is much greater for our European partners,” she said, adding that the group had discussed ways in which Canada could support the Europe in terms of energy security.

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Reporting by Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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