12/17/2012 01:31 EST | Updated 02/16/2013 05:12 EST

Carney's stay with Liberal critic not a conflict, bank says

The Bank of Canada says Governor Mark Carney did not break conflict of interest guidelines by accepting an invitation to stay at a cottage of the Liberal finance critic.

Spokesman Jeremy Harrison says the bank's general counsel has assessed the issue and determined Carney did not have actual or potential commercial or business relationship with Scott Brison.

Harrison confirmed that Carney did stay at Brison's summer vacation home during a week-long vacation in Nova Scotia during the summer, but said bank duties did not arise, nor was the stay partisan or political.

He says Carney and Brison have been personal friends for about a decade.

The two became friends when the governor was working as an associate deputy minister for Finance and Brison was the Liberal minister of public works.

In response, Brison confirmed the visit, but said he does not discuss publicly what he called "personal time with friends in our private space."

The issue arose after the Globe and Mail reported over the weekend that key members of the Liberal Party had courted Carney to run for the party leadership.

Liberal MP and former bank economist John McCallum told CBC News he contacted Carney in mid-August to talk about the controversy over the bank's decision to remove a scientist who appeared to be of Asian origin from the new $100 bill.

McCallum said that during the discussion he asked Carney about the Liberal leadership. "Carney didn't say yes or no," MCallum said.

He said he wasn't lobbying Carney, it was a casual comment and that the whole leadership discussion lasted about 10 seconds.