Home Business & Economy Affordability Alistair MacGregor leads NDP investigation into high food prices

Alistair MacGregor leads NDP investigation into high food prices

Vancouver Island MP is the NDP's new Food Price Inflation Critic

Monday February 13, 2023 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Today NDP critic for Food Price Inflation Alistair MacGregor led a vote to extend an NDP-initiated investigation into high food prices and corporate greed.

grocery, veggies

With the investigation set to end in the coming days without hearing from big grocery CEOs who have avoided testifying, MacGregor’s motion would force the CEOs of Loblaw, Metro and Empire to come before committee to get to the bottom of sky-high food prices.

MacGregor is the MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, and just 10 days ago was appointed as the NDP’s Food Price Inflation Critic.

“Families are taking food out of their grocery carts and stretching their budgets as far as possible to try and keep up with their rising food bills. But still costs are going up,” said MacGregor.

“Grocery CEOs are making more money than they ever have before, and yet while working Canadians are the ones asked to make sacrifices when deciding to pay food or rent, as their wages aren’t going up. It doesn’t make any sense, and Canadians deserve answers from the big CEOs profiting off of food.”

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In the fall, the NDP forced all members of parliament to admit that corporate greed is fueling inflation, and to investigate grocery chains who are getting rich off the backs of Canadian workers. Loblaw temporarily froze the prices of No Name products at record costs – proving that rich CEOs have all the power to control food costs for families. Now, they’ve lifted the freeze, and people are bracing for steep price hikes.

jagmeet singh, alistair macgregor
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and local MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) addressed students at Belmont Secondary School on Jan 26, 2023. [NDP]

The five biggest grocery chains control 80 per cent of all the food people in Canada consume – and the Liberals are leaving it up to their CEOs to set food prices.

Food prices keep going up:

“People deserve to know why the Liberals have turned their backs on Canadians. CEOs are making millions by charging Canadians $40 for a pack of chicken,” added MacGregor.

Across the country, people have been cutting back on food purchases for over a year now, as food costs have been driven up by inflation.

Inflation was 6.3% in January, which is lower than the 8.1% seen in June 2022. But the Bank of Canada may yet increase rates if the economy does not continue to cool. A small interest rate increase announced January 25 still delivered an economic shock.

Bigger corporate profits:

MacGregor says the Conservative Opposition “believes in bigger profits for corporations fueled by low paycheques for workers”. He says that’s why New Democrats are “fighting to get to the bottom of the corporate greed that’s hiking inflation”.

jagmeet singh, alistair macgregor, belmont, langford
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (center) and Alistair MacGregor, MP (left) arriving to speak to students at Belmont Secondary School on Jan 26, 2023 in Langford, welcomed by Belmont Secondary School Principal Laura Fulton. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

The NDP are also fighting for a windfall tax like other jurisdictions are using to lower prices. “We can stop incentivizing and rewarding corporations for ripping people off.”

Appointment as Food Price Critic:

On February 3, it was announced that Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s NDP, had tapped NDP MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford) to be the critic for Food Price Inflation, as Canadians face ever-rising prices at grocery stores.


Singh’s move on February 3 came the day after grocery giant Loblaw lifted a price freeze on some products — sparking worry about food prices rising even faster in February. Also, on January 26 the NDP Leader wrapped up a couple of days in Alistair MacGregor’s area (including Cowichan-Duncan and Langford) as part of Singh’s week-long Vancouver Island tour.

alistair macgregor, mp

“Everyone should be able to afford healthy food,” said Singh. “But right now, families are crossing items off their grocery list, or racking up bigger bills at the till — and the Liberals are letting it happen. Justin Trudeau is letting the cost of living get worse for you, so profits can get bigger for CEOs.

“Alistair MacGregor is a champion for working families. He’s going to fight for every tool possible to stop greedflation, so people have a more breathing room. That includes leading the fight for a windfall tax, because we have to stop rewarding grocery giants for gouging families.”

Critic shuffle:

As announced in a news release on February 3, a few critic roles have been shuffled:

  • NDP MP Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby) takes over from MacGregor as critic for Public Safety. Julian is also the NDP’s house leader; critic for Canadian Heritage and deputy critic for Finance.
  • MacGregor remains the critic for Agriculture and Food. He is the deputy critic for Justice.
  • In addition, NDP MP Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay) will  take on the International Trade file. Cannings is also the critic for Emergency Preparedness (Climate Change Resilience); Small Business and Tourism; and the deputy critic for Innovation, Science and Industry as well as the deputy critic for Natural Resources.
  • Taylor Bachrach (Skeena – Bulkley Valley) takes over as deputy critic for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
  • There has been no change to Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke), MP’s critic roles: Justice; 2SLGBTQI+ Rights; Deputy Critic- National Defense.
randall garrison, ad, 2021


mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR is a long-time journalist, delivering news through a socioeconomic lens through Island Social Trends.

Based on the west shore of south Vancouver Island, her publication IslandSocialTrends.ca covers news of the Greater Victoria area, south Vancouver Island, with insights on BC and national issues.

Ms Brooke has consistently covered progressive politics on Vancouver Island including a focus on food security for the South Vancouver Island region.

Among many other credentials, Mary Brooke holds a B.Sc. in Food and Nutrition.