It's a shame this sort of discussion didn't occur during the last federal election. A debate on the renewal of the Bank of Canada's inflation-control target would have added much substance to what I thought was a particularly lame election. But what is even more regretful is that this discussion, it now turns out, got to take place only after the renewal of the five-year agreement became a fait accompli.
That said, yesterday's session of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance aimed at discussing the merits of the renewal of the BoC's inflation target contained some good exchanges. The economists who were invited to present their views included Mario Seccareccia of the University of Ottawa, Scott Sumner of Bentley University, Jim Stanford of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, Chris Ragan of McGill University and Craig Alexander of TD Bank.
I was particularly pleased by the fact that the discussions were not limited to the renewal of the inflation target. Topics also touched upon included the role of fiscal policy, the current slowdown in the global economy, the actions of the Bank of Canada in recent years, as well as the state of Canada's manufacturing sector.
My views on the BoC's inflation target can be found here and here. Given that this type of conversation only occurs once every five years, I thought it might be appropriate to post it here (click on Play to hear the session) Enjoy.