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The spectre of Carney now looms over Morneau, but that should be a good thing

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A favourite parlour game of influencers around the world for years has been trying to guess where Carney would land next. After missing out on a chance to lead the International Monetary Fund last year, the consensus was that it would only be a matter of time before he took his talents back to Ottawa.

“He is the real deal,” said a former cabinet-level staffer in Stephen Harper’s government, which installed Carney as Bank of Canada governor in 2007. “He’s smart and he knows it. He also knows he possesses more knowledge than almost anyone talking to him on any economic issue.”

Carney didn’t retire, of course, after leaving Canada’s central bank; if he had, the shadow he cast over Poloz’s tenure would have been fainter. Rather, he was called up to the big leagues in 2013, taking over as governor of the Bank of England, the first outsider to preside over one of the world’s most important financial centres and an economy that is 1.5 times larger than that of Canada.

The native of Fort Smith, N.W.T., was educated at Harvard University and Oxford University and worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in London, New York, Tokyo and Toronto before arriving in Ottawa in 2003, at first to serve as a deputy governor at the Bank of Canada, but within a year he had been recruited to serve as an associate deputy minister at the Finance Department.

There’s no shame in being eclipsed by Carney. His combination of intellect, charisma, determination, experience and ambition is rare everywhere. And it’s especially rare in Ottawa, where policy making has fallen to a collection of gen-Xers on both sides of the aisle that have relatively little experience outside the bubbles of partisan politics and professional advocacy.

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