Singh Challenges Trudeau’s Approach with ‘Lowering Prices for Canadians Act’

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In a bold move, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has lambasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call to grocery giants to stabilize prices and heighten competition, labeling it as “vague” and inadequate for inducing any substantial change. Singh positions the New Democrats as unwavering challengers to “corporate greed,” with plans of spotlighting the issue when Parliament reopens.

Prior to Trudeau’s proclamation, Singh’s team informed CTV News that he planned on initiating the fall session by introducing a bill intended to empower Canada’s Competition Bureau to control corporate might and practices such as price gouging.

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Monday will witness the House of Commons starting its first session since June, where Singh intends to present a private members’ bill titled the “Lowering Prices for Canadians Act” considered by a senior source in his office to be a priority.

The proposed legislation aims to revise Canada’s Competition Act in three significant ways, including enabling the Competition Bureau to curb “price gouging” with heightened fines aligning with those levied in the EU and Australia and offering the bureau additional tools to prevent corporate mergers in a bid to better safeguard consumers. Furthermore, it hopes to simplify the process for the competition watchdog to pursue companies that partake in anti-competitive actions.

The proposed bill is a response to recommendations from the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project, according to an unnamed source in Singh’s office.

Throughout his tenure, Singh has set his sights on Canadian corporations and their immense influence. In a recent speech to the NDP caucus, he committed to combatting “greedy CEOs.”

During the next parliamentary period, private members’ bills (PMBs) sponsored by MPs will follow the same legislative process as government legislation, though on separate schedules. At the beginning of each session, MPs will draw numbers for their standing in the PMB lottery. The lower the number, the earlier an MP gets the opportunity to present and move a bill forward.

Singh’s chance to present comes next week, but despite optimism from his office, the likelihood of getting enough cross-party support for his bill decreases with the Liberals’ proposition of a comparable legislative plan.

Trudeau’s plan involves summoning the heads of major grocery chains to stabilize prices and not ruling out tax measures to ensure stability. Furthermore, it incorporates amendments to the Competition Act, boosting the bureau’s capacity to compel information from companies and to “take action against collaborations that stifle competition and consumer choice.”

Indeed, Parliamentary debates on the issues of corporate power and consumer protection promise to be hard-fought this fall, with portrayals of Trudeau, Singh, and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s various approaches to these significant topics being watched closely by a Canadian public feeling the pinch at the grocery store and in their housing costs.