Today, Thomson Reuters, along with the Atlantic Council, the Rotman School of Management, and The Embassy of Canada are hosting a special event, The Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned From Canada and The Way Forward.
The event is a gathering of leaders discussing the future of the global financial system through the lens of the Canadian experience. The morning sessions of today’s conference, which is being held at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC began with a welcome from Gary Doer, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. and opening remarks from Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Governmt & Regulatory Affairs, Thomson Reuters; Stephen Adler, Editor-In-Chief, Reuters News, Executive Vice President News, Thomson Reuters; and Brian Henderson, Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council. The panelists immediately dove into a lively discussion of Canada’s performance during the financial crisis, and what can be learned from it.
Moderated by Dean Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, panelists debated what made Canada different, as well as how it came to be in a position of relative strength going into the crisis. Earlier challenges to its banking – and pension systems, described in some detail by Mark Wiseman of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board – were contributors.
Michael Horgan, Deputy Minister of Finance of Canada discussed a number of contributing factors – not only the bank and pension issues that had resulted in changes that positioned them well but that despite pressure over what were perceived as excessively tight or conservative policies at the time, a lag that likely protected them to a degree from some of what happened elsewhere. But, he said, “In Canada it was a very difficult time. We hope not to go through it again.”
Sarah Dahlgren of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York pointed to three differences: complexity, interconnectedness and quality of management, before stating that we were “still learning, perhaps re-learning with situations like MF Global.” Clay Lowery, former Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury went a step further, saying we haven’t learned much – or enough – yet.
Katharine Ramsden is managing editor, Thomson Reuters.