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G&M: Poilievre has a point on central-bank digital currencies

Globe & Mail: 'A central-bank digital currency, on the other hand, cuts out the banks and credit-card companies. It’s essentially an electronic payment system directly controlled by the government.

'The Bank of Canada would no doubt like that because it can thus implement its monetary policy, usually a blunt instrument, in a more micro-targeting way. Who knows – maybe that’s a good thing for fighting the inflation the federal institution has been trying so hard to tame.

But having all our financial data directly in the hands of the government is a frightening thought.

'The leader in the world of central-bank digital currencies is China, which already has a working product in use by some of the population. Why has China been so eager to develop one? Critics of its human-rights record have long said that a digital currency would enable even greater surveillance and control.

'Canada, of course, is not China. The Bank of Canada has said that a core feature of its digital currency would be privacy for its users. One of the bank’s deputy governors, Timothy Lane, said in 2021 that, in fact, the federal institution is a better custodian for people’s information than private companies because it has “no commercial motivation to harvest data.” Fair point...'

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