Let's not just stimulate economy but ensure COVID relief: Former TD CEO Ed Clark
Bay Street veteran Ed Clark is expressing concerns Canada is overdoing it with pandemic stimulus that he thinks may be too broad and improperly targeted.
In a television interview Monday, Clark, the former Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Group and current board nominee at Spin Master Corp., said policymakers would be better off implementing extremely precise supports rather than broad-stroke stimulus.
“When we look at things, I guess I’m a little disappointed that we don’t seem to make the distinction between the targeted immediate relief and stimulus,” Clark said.
“[The economy] doesn’t really need a lot of stimulus, but it does need very targeted relief.”
Canada is currently on track to post a record peace-time deficit of $381.6 billion for the last fiscal year amid unprecedented supports implemented to support the domestic economy through the worst of the pandemic.
Clark said Canada could be vulnerable if policymakers fail to keep the domestic debt load under control. Recent figures from the Institute of International Finance (IIF) show that Canada’s debt as a percentage GDP stood at 352.6 per cent, putting it ahead of many developed nations.
Clark said that debt figure should prompt the feds to be more selective in how they roll our stimulus spending, emphasizing the need to target infrastructure vulnerabilities like supply chains and the healthcare system. Structural issues in those sectors have been exposed over the course of the pandemic.
“I’d be urging governments to say, ‘let’s not try to stimulate the economy, let’s make sure that the people that have been hurt by COVID are helped’,” Clark said. “You don’t have to help everybody in the economy, because a lot of people haven’t been economically hurt.”