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NDP leader’s ‘grocery bill’ to be voted on

By Adam Riley Feb 7, 2024 | 9:54 AM

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh meets with residents in Thunder Bay on May 5, 2023 (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

A bill put forth by federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, aimed towards addressing grocery prices, is slated to have its second reading and vote on Wednesday.

The bill, according to Singh, would lower grocery prices by:

  • Increasing fines for price-fixing, overcharging and other abuses of Canadian consumers
  • Closing loopholes that let companies get away with anti-competitive behaviour at the expense of Canadians
  • Strengthening merger laws and giving the Competition Bureau more powers to stop big corporations from abusing their dominant position and buying up smaller players in the market.

He hopes the Trudeau Liberals will come on board and support the bill to get it to committee, but doesn’t have much faith in support from the Conservatives following revelations a party policy advisor is also a lobbyist for Loblaw.

“They’re working for Loblaws, they’re working for Galen Weston. They’re not going to take on Galen Weston, so it makes it absolutely disingenuous when we hear Pierre Poilievre mention anything about food prices.”

However, Singh has also been bringing to light the role money plays in politics, publicly airing in the House of Commons that some members of the Liberal government have received money from some of the grocery giants.

Despite those negatives, he remains optimistic there will be enough support to bring the bill to the next stage, calling it a “zero cost bill”.

“Liberals and Conservatives like to talk about ‘Oh we can’t spend money.’ Well this is about saving money for families, so if they don’t support this, the Conservatives try to come out and say ‘We don’t want to spend anything.’ This is not about spending, this is about accountability, giving more accountability to consumers, more power to Canadian families.”

If passed, the bill would end up before an all-party committee, allowing for experts and witnesses to weigh in on the pros and cons, before being brought back to the House of Commons.