Monday September 18, 2023 | NATIONAL [Updated 12:35 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends | FOOD SECURITY NEWS SECTION
On the first day of the new Parliamentary session today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh introduced his party’s plan to lower grocery prices for Canadians. For 20 months in a row — driven by Bank of Canada monetary policy to significantly increase interest rates in order to control and reduce inflation — food prices have increased faster than inflation.
According to an NDP statement today, Singh’s private member’s bill will increase penalties for price fixing, help smaller grocery stores by protecting them against anti-competitive tactics from bigger players, give the competition bureau more powers to crack down on abuses like price-gouging consumers, and stop mergers that decrease competition and hurt Canadians – like the recent Rogers and Shaw merger.
“Canadians are sick and tired of Liberal and Conservative governments protecting CEOs’ massive profits instead of protecting hardworking people getting gouged on their grocery bills,” said Singh. “I’m putting forward changes today that would ensure Canadians aren’t getting ripped off at the grocery store and to bring food prices down for you and your family.”
If it becomes law, the new bill will strengthen the ability of the Competition Bureau “to take on the greed of these corporations to challenge the price gouging and price fixing which goes on”.
Today Singh told media that he “doesn’t trust the Liberals” to act on the grocery price issue on their own, hence his bill so that could be law “before people buy groceries for Christmas”.
Timeline / background:
Back in March 2022, the NDP first introduced their attempt to force the Liberals and Conservatives to vote on making big grocery companies. After that, the NDP continued to push the issue. On October 5, 2022, New Democrats called for a study at the agriculture committee to investigate inflation on the food supply chain and the cost of groceries.
Months later, on February 13, New Democrats had the study broadened to summon CEOs from Loblaws, Metro, and Empire Company [to appear at the House of Commons Agriculture & Agri-Food Committee] and, on March 8, 2023 they finally appeared.
Government slowly realizing how serious it is:
“After over a year of ignoring the problem, Justin Trudeau is now saying he’s going to take action. His delay has cost Canadian families thousands of dollars,” said Singh.
It does in fact seem as though the federal government was out of touch with the true cost of living realities being endured if not suffered by Canadians across the country.