Price-Fixing Predictable Result of 1985 “Competition Act”

Price-Fixing Predictable Result of 1985 “Competition Act”

Hill Times: 28 June 2023

A Post Media columnist’s recent call for public outrage over the ongoing Weston/Maple Leaf price-fixing assumes that collusion should surprise Canadian consumers. The following contextual information weakens this hopeful assumption about Canada’s corporate nobility.

“In 1985 the BCNI (Business Council on National Issues) approached Andre Ouellet, Jean Chretien’s Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, with an offer he didn’t refuse. BCNI CEO Thomas D’Aquino and his peers had, ‘…previously decided that Canada needed a new competition act.’

The BCNI (currently the Business Council of Canada) spent $1 million to hire a team of 25 lawyers who by 1985, ‘…had produced a 236-page master plan. Incredibly, it became Canada’s new Competition Act, virtually word for word…, and Canada’s business environment was irrevocably transformed.’

The 1985 Competition Act contained ‘… no provisions for class-action law suits; corporate monopolistic conspiracies were so vaguely defined that they were just about impossible to prove; and prosecutions were moved from criminal to civil courts. It was the only time in the history of capitalism that any country allowed its anti-monopoly legislation to be written by the very people it was meant to restrain.’”

Perhaps the writer’s status as a Post Media employee in Canada’s highly-concentrated mainstream media explains his failure to provide vital historical context.

Instead, he offers a fallacious appeal to emotion suggesting that people finally having a valid reason to hate the wealthy, some of whom, surprisingly; abuse their power and influence.

Morgan Duchesney
Ottawa Canada