Stephen S Poloz: Monetary policy in unknowable times

Text of the Eric J. Hanson Memorial Lecture by Mr Stephen S Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, 25 May 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
26 May 2020


It is an honour for me to deliver the Eric J. Hanson Memorial Lecture for 2020. I want to thank the University of Alberta for the invitation and for your flexibility and perseverance in these difficult and unusual times.

Eric Hanson was a great economist and Albertan whose pioneering work on public finance helped define the Canada we know today. The lecture series established in his memory has seen contributions from some very important names in Canadian economics and public policy, such as Thomas Kierans, Judith Maxwell and Kevin Lynch, to name just a few.

The Bank of Canada has been involved with this lecture series almost from the beginning. I was working at the Bank in 1988 when then-Governor John Crow delivered the second-ever Hanson Lecture. Crow cemented the idea that price stability should be the prime mission for the central bank because it is the best contribution monetary policy can make to our economic well-being. That lecture laid the foundation for inflation targeting-the highly successful monetary policy framework now practised in Canada and virtually every advanced economy.