Bank of Canada seeks pub­lic in­put on 2pc in­fla­tion tar­get

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

The Bank of Canada is ask­ing Cana­di­ans for the first time to pro­vide feed­back on the in­fla­tion tar­get­ing frame­work it uses to set mone­tary pol­icy, the cen­tral bank said. The bank has tried to keep the an­nual in­fla­tion rate at 2% since 1991, a goal that is re­viewed jointly by the cen­tral bank and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment ev­ery five years.

The bank is launch­ing an on­line sur­vey here ask­ing Cana­di­ans for their thoughts about in­fla­tion and other price sta­bil­ity tools avail­able to cen­tral banks. The dead­line for com­plet­ing the sur­vey is Oct. 1. The bank will pub­lish the re­sults in the com­ing months.

The sur­vey marks the first time the Bank of Canada has sought pub­lic in­put about the in­fla­tion tar­get. As part of its re­view, the bank says it plans to com­pare dif­fer­ent mone­tary pol­icy frame­works.

"The Bank is com­mit­ted to ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency in ev­ery­thing we do," Bank of Canada Gover­nor Tiff Mack­lem said in a re­lease.

In Novem­ber 2018, Se­nior Deputy Gover­nor Carolyn Wilkins said one op­tion was for the bank to set a tar­get path for the level of ag­gre­gate prices rather than an in­fla­tion rate. This could make mone­tary pol­icy more ef­fec­tive, but the idea is hard to un­der­stand, Wilkins said.

"The 2% in­fla­tion tar­get is fairly easy for peo­ple to com­pre­hend and ap­pre­ci­ate," said Shaun Os­borne, chief cur­rency strate­gist at Sco­tia­bank, adding that the con­sul­ta­tion could be a way to ac­cli­ma­tize peo­ple to other pos­si­ble tools.

Wilkins will host a Bank of Canada work­shop about the 2021 re­newal of its Mone­tary Pol­icy Frame­work on Wed­nes­day. Mack­lem is sched­uled to par­tic­i­pate in a Fed­eral Re­serve Bank of Kansas City panel dis­cus­sion on Thurs­day about cri­sis man­age­ment dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. (Re­port­ing by Kelsey John­son in Ot­tawa; Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Fer­gal Smith in Toronto and David Ljung­gren in Ot­tawa; edit­ing by Jonathan Oatis)

In the shadow of Canada's largest clus­ter of sky­scrapers, Toronto is look­ing to pre­serve a ma­jes­tic, cen­turies-old oak tree­but ef­forts have been com­pli­cated by the pan­demic.

The tow­er­ing 24-me­ter (79feet) high North­ern Red Oak is one of the old­est trees in these parts, hav­ing sprouted an es­ti­mated 300 years ago, around the time that French ex­plor­ers set up a trad­ing post on the nearby shores of Lake On­tario.

The tree now finds it­self in the back yard of a non­de­script bun­ga­low on a wind­ing street in the heart of a res­i­den­tial North York neigh­bor­hood. Its huge trunk has a cir­cum­fer­ence of five me­ters and brushes up against the back of the 1960s house. In sum­mer, its long leafy branches shade the en­tire lot from the sun's rays.

But in re­cent years, a new home­owner ex­pressed con­cerns about be­ing able to af­ford proper tree main­te­nance and its roots crack­ing the house's foun­da­tion.

Neigh­bors also worry that this awe­some spec­i­men may one day be dam­aged by strong winds or felled in a storm.

To pro­tect it and make it ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one in this city of six mil­lion peo­ple, Toronto's city coun­cil voted in 2018 to buy the prop­erty, raze the house and turn the land into a small pub­lic park. "'Takes your breath away' -

A deal was reached with the home­owner last year to sell the prop­erty to the city.

That out­come de­lighted Edith George, a lo­cal res­i­dent who lob­bied over 14 years to pre­serve the oak tree, whose beauty she says "just takes your breath away." "It's the Rolls-Royce of her­itage trees. No other tree in Canada has the her­itage value that this tree has," the 68-year-old re­tiree told AFP.

Ex­perts say that with care and un­der the right con­di­tions, the tree could live an­other 200 years or more. "A tree like this is ex­pen­sive to main­tain. If the lot is a pub­lic space, the city will be able to take care of it bet­ter than I can," says Ali Simaga, who pur­chased the home in 2015.

"I don't want to be self­ish and keep it to my­self, ei­ther," he adds.

The deal, how­ever, is not done yet. The city's pur­chase of­fer is con­di­tional on pri­vate dona­tions to cover half of the price tag for the prop­erty. Fundrais­ing started in De­cem­ber 2019, with a tar­get of rais­ing Can$430,000 (US$325,000) by the end of this year.

Af­ter a promis­ing start, in­clud­ing a Can$100,000 pledge by a cou­ple of lo­cal phi­lan­thropists, con­tri­bu­tions slowed to a trickle dur­ing the pan­demic. As of mid-July, about Can$125,000, or nearly 30 per­cent of the goal, had been col­lected. If the tar­get is missed by the dead­line, without an ex­ten­sion, the monies col­lected would be used to sup­port tree plant­ing across the city while the fu­ture of the his­toric oak tree would be in doubt.

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