Stephen Poloz still has some time to go as Bank of Canada governor, but if we were to write his legacy today, it would consist of three things. One, he cut interest rates in January 2015 before most of us realized that collapsing oil prices were going to hurt. Two, he risked housing bubbles in Vancouver and Toronto by leaving interest rates really low for a really long time so the broader economy could regather momentum. And three, he infuriated much of Bay Street by refusing to tell them clearly what he intended to do with interest rates.
“I’m not a Poloz fan,” Chris Catliff, who runs Vancouver-based BlueShore Financial, told me recently. I had simply asked what he thought about Canadian monetary policy and this is what he said. Catliff grumbled about not being able to figure out the governor. The Bank of Canada had just jolted bankers and traders awake with a series of speeches and interviews that made clear interest rates were about to rise for the first time in seven years. Catliff was fine with the plan; he just disliked the way Poloz telegraphed his intentions.
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