Mark Wiseman: Economy will recover rapidly if governments and businesses make right moves
A former chief executive of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board says the country can recover from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as it acts quickly and decisively.
“We are on, effectively, a form of a war-footing here, not just in Canada, but around the world,” Mark Wiseman, who is also a former BlackRock Inc. executive, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Tuesday. “I think it is critical that we act that way.”
“Businesses and government and health officials have to come together to combat this situation. It is going to involve a lot of short-term pain.”
Canadian officials rolled out several measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus and stimulate the economy on Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau restricted entry of most foreign nationals into Canada, excluding Americans.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada, alongside the federal government, announced plans to buy billions in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities to give the Canadian financial system a liquidity boost.
Wiseman said the federal government will also need to take steps to protect critical industries and small businesses, at any cost.
“We have to be able to take drastic measures to protect small businesses: Those are the ones that are most vulnerable in terms of their ability and having the wherewithal to suffer the demand-shock,” Wiseman said. “We have to ensure that we’re supporting critical industries through this effort.”
“At times like these, you don’t worry about budget deficits. You don’t worry about who’s going to pay for it. You just need to get it done.”