It was nearly one year ago — long after Canadians began struggling with the rising cost of groceries — that I wrote about the Competition Bureau’s “plans to investigate industry pricing.”
From my October 2022 column: “While I agree that grocery pricing needs to be investigated and something should be done, I question the lateness of such a move, and how long it’ll take to have anything come from the findings.” The agency said the “study” results would be released this past June.
Fast forward to a few months after that deadline (present day), what have we learned? What’s changed? Has the government enacted any concrete solutions to help with your growing grocery bill? (The government met with grocery CEOs this week… to have a pricing sustainability plan… by Thanksgiving.)
Yet Prime Minister Trudeau continues his so-called hardline stance on sticking it to the big grocery companies — without really, like, you know, saying or doing anything of substance.
Days ago, or insert any previous date really, he said, “Large grocery chains are making record profits. Those profits should not be made on the backs of people who are struggling to feed their families.” Yeah, and? “(We) will take further action.”
Hooooooold on. “Further” implies previous action was taken against those mean, greedy corporations.
Let me ask you, dear reader: Have you noticed cheaper grocery prices thanks to government intervention? I’ll answer for you. No.
Trudeau continued, “We are not ruling anything out, including tax measures.” What does that even mean? He either wants that to come across as a veiled threat or he’s deflecting for not having a solution. You decide.
It’s no different than how his party answers when challenged on grocery pricing. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “We’re putting more money in the pockets of Canadians.” That’s not answering anything remotely close to what’s being asked about industry pricing.
So, Trudeau’s non-answer answer that sort of threatens corporations is really going to help the inventory in your fridge and cupboards? Really?
Won’t that have a reverse effect and prompt the big corporations to say, “Well, higher taxes are eating into our profits so we need to raise prices”?
Look how the tech giants responded to the government’s controversial Online News Act that will force the likes of Meta and Google to pay media outlets for their content. The platforms blocked news for Canadians rather than bowing to government pressure.
Clearly this grocery price thing is not a priority for the federal government. If it were, immediate action would’ve been taken. Not studying it one year ago, not promising “rebate” cheques and six months later sending them to Canadians, or having a meeting mid September and a “plan” by Thanksgiving.
In times of crisis, look how quickly Canada sends relief money elsewhere in the world. Immediately.
If the (alleged) most-powerful man in the country can snap his fingers and make things happen to the tune of millions and billions of dollars, why doesn’t he have the clout to make change when it’s more than simply throwing money at something?