The newly minted Governor of the Bank of Canada has enormous power over the Canadian economy and real estate market given his authority over interest rate setting. Like his international counterparts, Governor Macklem is a ‘master of the universe’ with tremendous economic and financial influence, and political and social clout. Like his predecessor, Macklem will arguably have significantly more pull on the economy than most of our senior elected politicians. Monetary policy is far more immediate and widely felt than fiscal policy, it takes weeks and months for government bureaucracies to roll out increases in funding and new program spending. Even when funding is announced, it’s usually extremely targeted, or is affected through taxes deferrals and signing. Mortgage deferrals and CERB are obvious exemptions as they are direct transfers to individuals and businesses.
So who is Tiff? Tembo will use this blog as an opportunity to gives readers an outline of the background and experience of our new master of the universe. Mr. Macklem is a born and bred ‘Laurentian Elite,’ a member of one of the few elite corporate, political, and bureaucratic families that have been identified as the traditional ‘ruling class’ of Canadian society (particularly in the Toronto to Montreal corridor). His father was once the CFO of Birks, and other members of his family were physicians and members of prominent families. Tiff went to private Selwyn House in Montreal, living in the affluent Westmount neighbourhood. He completed his PhD in Economics from Western and has worked at the BOC as a career bureaucrat since the early 1980s. Macklem rose to serve as Deputy Governor from 2004-2007, was a senior bureaucrat at the Federal Ministry of Finance from 2007-2010, and was Senior Deputy Governor of the BOC from 2010 to 2014.
Before being appointed Governor, Macklem was the Dean of UofT’s Rotman School of Management. He also notably served on the Board of Scotiabank from 2015 to 2020. So what we have is a son of the aristocracy who went to private school and finished a PhD in Economics who worked as a career bureaucrat for over two decades. Mr. Maklem is well connected, well respected, and in tune with the country’s senior banking elites. He has a more outgoing and colourful persona than the usually drab and grey Poloz who preceded him. All in all, Maklem is a status quo, safe career pick BOC Governor who will be uncontroversial in setting rates and who has a solid power base in the BOC bureaucracy and is well connected to Bay Street.