Pierre Boiliver says he will oppose the digital currency proposed by the Bank of Canada as Prime Minister

Canadian Conservative Party leadership candidate Pierre Pouliver speaks during a campaign rally on March 31 in Ottawa.Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Boiliver said he would oppose a public digital currency backed by the Bank of Canada and work to increase parliamentary oversight of the central bank.

Mr Boliever has been highly critical of the Bank of Canada, accusing it of acting as an ATM for the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic through the central bank’s government bond purchase program, also known as quantitative easing (QE). He also ridiculed the establishment for its incorrect forecasts of inflation over the past two years, recently calling it “financially illiterate”.

At a news conference Thursday outside the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa, the Conservative MP doubled down on his criticism, saying it would enable the Auditor General to scrutinize the central bank’s balance sheet and transactions. Former party leader Andrew Scheer proposed the idea in a member’s bill in February.

It is the job of elected officials to hold the powerful to account. When powerful people harm ordinary citizens with their policies, it is our job, as elected officials, to invite them to do so,” said Mr. Boliever, when asked by a reporter if his continued criticism threatens to undermine confidence in the central bank.

Mr Poulivri’s opponents of the Conservative leadership were quick to condemn his comments. Jean Charest, a former prime minister of Quebec, called them “irresponsible” and unfit for prime minister.

“Praying [the Bank of Canada’s] In a statement, Charest said leadership is “financially illiterate” as Mr. Boliever recently did on Twitter, and politicians’ suggestion that monetary policy should be steered is deeply troubling.

“These are the things that cause financial crises in other countries, and for someone who says he is running for prime minister to make these kinds of comments is irresponsible,” he said.

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Brampton, Ont.; Mayor Patrick Brown, who is also seeking leadership, called Mr Poliever’s economic ideas “dangerous” and harmful to Tory election prospects, while also slamming Mr Poliever’s vocal support for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

“Pierre Pouliver does not care if Canadians lose everything because he told them to gamble everything on volatile things like cryptocurrency on the advice of his YouTube advisers, as long as he can promote the cheap phrases and attract the social media attention he craves,” Mr Brown said. In a statement.

The Bank of Canada is considering launching a type of digital dollar that can be used for online transactions. The project is still in the development stage, and the decision to launch a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) rests with the Minister of Finance.

Central banks around the world are considering central bank digital currencies as a use of physical cash – the main form of public money provided by a central bank – and online payments are on the rise. Central banks fear losing their place at the heart of the payments system, which could undermine financial stability and their ability to manage monetary policy.

Mr. Boliever said Thursday that he would oppose central bank currencies, arguing that it would give the government more power to monitor people’s spending, and that public digital currencies would compete with commercial bank deposits.

“The central bank digital currency means that Canadians will deposit their money with the government rather than a private financial institution, and then the central bank will be in direct competition with commercial banks,” said Mr.

The Bank of Canada said any CBD design would likely involve significant collaboration with the private sector, and privacy protections would be of paramount importance. But Mr. Boliever’s criticism already points to an important consideration for any potential central bank digital currency: whether people can transfer their deposits from commercial banks to accounts at the central bank.

Commercial banks rely on deposits to make loans, so a widespread move away from commercial bank accounts can interfere with the creation of credit in the economy.

There have been a number of CBDC design proposals aimed at reducing this potential problem. Policy makers could set a cap on the amount of central bank digital money an individual could hold at a given time, which would essentially treat central bank currencies like petty cash for everyday transactions, rather than a place to store savings.

Likewise, if a central bank digital currency does not pay interest, commercial bank accounts that pay interest may retain their appeal as places to store savings.

When asked about Mr. Boliever’s comments, Bank of Canada spokesman Rawin Passmore said the decision on issuing a CBDC rests with Parliament.

“Questions regarding the role of the auditor general in relation to the bank are also the prerogative of parliamentarians,” she said, noting that the central bank is already under scrutiny by two private-sector accounting firms – KPMG and Ernst & Young – and the auditor general also has the authority to audit the bank. In his role as the government’s financial agent.

Mr. Boliever was asked on Thursday whether his criticism of the central bank indicated that he would seek to replace Governor Teff McClem. He did not respond directly, but said “we will change the leadership of the Government of Canada.”

The Ottawa MP has made monetary issues a major part of his bid to secure the party’s leadership, promising to make Canada the “world capital of blockchain and cryptocurrency.” He has said that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin offer Canadians an opportunity to “pull out” of inflation.

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, Caroline Rogers, contested the idea in her appearance before the House of Commons Finance Committee on Monday.

“Crypto volatility, if you look at the past year or two, has been higher than gasoline, higher than the Canadian exchange rate, higher than most commodities. So we don’t see cryptocurrencies as a way for Canadians to opt out of inflation or as a stable source of value.”

Mr. Boliever, a longtime deputy and former official financial critic of the opposition, is one of several candidates seeking to lead the Federalist Conservatives. The party is scheduled to announce a new leader on September 10, to be chosen by party members through mail ballots.

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