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Mark Carney makes Time magazine's 'most influential' list at 21

OTTAWA - Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has made the grade in Time magazine's "world's most influential" people list.

OTTAWA - Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has made the grade in Time magazine's "world's most influential" people list.

Carney, who appears in the No. 21 spot among 25 world leaders singled out for distinction, was effusively praised by the widely known U.S. publication for his intelligence, candour and sense of humour.

He was also the only central banker named by Time.

"Central bankers aren't often young, good-looking and charming, but Mark Carney is all three - not to mention wicked smart," the magazine says in its latest edition.

"As the head of the Bank of Canada, Carney, 45, had the good fortune of presiding over a banking system that didn't need a single bailout," Time said.

"Now that the world's richest nations are working to co-ordinate new financial rules, Carney is clamouring to stay focused on the causes of the crisis - like banks not holding enough capital and Western consumers spending too much - instead of getting distracted by populist zeal."

The reference to populist zeal is likely pointing to Canada's vocal dissent of calls in Europe and the United States for an international bank tax.

The accolade comes barely a week after Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty successfully led the opposition to the levy at the G20 meeting in Washington, arguing it would be ineffective, punitive and counter-productive.

Carney has been widely credited for helping Canada weather the recession by keeping interest rates low and helping to generate what, at this point, appears to be a solid recovery.

But to TD Bank chief economist Don Drummond, who like Carney spent some time in Ottawa in the Department of Finance, the governor also deserves credit for what he didn't do.

"He didn't follow all the extraordinary measures adopted elsewhere because they weren't required here," Drummond said.

"I can confirm that he has the respect of his international peers, as do his senior officials. So I too would rank the governor highly."

Carney is the second Canadian official to receive international recognition in large part because of the country's ability to withstand the global financial meltdown.

Last year, Flaherty was named finance minister of the year by a European publication.

Time magazine annually names 100 individuals it deems the most influential in four distinct categories - leaders, heroes, artists and thinkers.

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took top spot in the leader's category, reflecting the increasing impact of South America's largest and rapidly economy. U.S. President Barack Obama placed fourth, and right-wing politician cum celebrity Sarah Palin 9th.

Pop singer Lady Gaga was first among artists, architect and designer Zaha Hadid topped the thinkers list, while former U.S. president Bill Clinton was first in the heroes category for his humanitarian work, particularly involving Haiti.

Somewhat surprisingly, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was not named despite receiving credit in some quarters for leading the U.S. out of a bigger mess than anything faced by his Canadian counterpart, as well as being Time's "Person of the Year" in 2009.

Bernanke, however, was also present when the financial meltdown occurred and some blame him for not doing enough to prevent irresponsible banking practices.

The bilingual Carney is in the third year of a seven-year term at the bank, after a stint at Finance and 13 years with investment bankers Goldman Sachs

Born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, he studied economics at Harvard and received a doctorate in the discipline at Oxford University.

 
 
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