Flaherty leaves conflict questions to Bank of Canada

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada speaks with Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty during an press conference in Ottawa Monday Nov 26, 2012.



OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says it's up to the chief central banker to respond to whether the Bank of Canada's conflict of interest guidelines need an update.

Questions were raised about the bank's policies after it came to light governor Mark Carney spent nearly a week's vacation at the home of the Liberal finance critic.

Carney and MP Scott Brison are close friends and the bank's general counsel cleared Carney of any conflict of interest breaches after media inquired about the stay.

A number of ethics and governance experts have since said the bank's rules don't appear to be as strict as those governing MPs for example, which were updated in 2006.

"I've spoken with the governor," Flaherty told reporters Wednesday at an event in Burlington, ON.

"I don't really have any comment on the issue right now. I imagine, at some point, he might be willing to respond."

Flaherty noted that as a cabinet minister and MP, he works within the stringent guidelines set out in the Conflict of Interest Act and overseen by ethics watchdog Mary Dawson.

"(It's) a very rigid regime with a commissioner which we get to live with and we accept. And I think that's what Canadians expect from their parliamentarians. I can't speak for others," he said.

A spokesman for the bank said Carney has no scheduled media availabilities until late January.

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