Mar 20, 2013

By Scott Walker

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On parliament hill, the opposition is accusing the federal finance minister of behaving like a dictator.

The accusation from NDP Leader Tom Mulcair came after Jim Flaherty complained to Manulife Financial Corporation that its posted mortgage rates were too low.

Flaherty has been critical of banks for reducing their already-low mortgage rates. He’s concerned it will encourage people to take on more debt.

But Mulcair says Flaherty’s actions amounted to “banana republic behaviour.” He questions why Flaherty would use his political weight to interfere in the free market.

Flaherty has admitted he asked a member of his staff to phone ManuLife after it cut its posted rate for five-year fixed mortgages to 2.89 per cent from 3.09 per cent.

The bank quickly reversed its decision, which will cost consumers more in interest charges.

Jim Flaherty will unveil his latest budget tomorrow.


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