Canadians will elect a new government September 20. Each of Canada’s major parties has published a platform that describes the priorities it would implement if elected.
To help voters understand how the parties compare on important consumer protection issues, Consumers Council of Canada will publish platform excerpts. The issues selected were identified by the Council’s Public Interest Network (PIN) as the most important current consumer protection matters in recent questionnaires. Comparisons on other policy priorities are available from the CBC and elsewhere.
Without attempting to judge the efficacy or costs of these pledges, here is how the Liberal Party, Conservative Party and New Democratic Party electoral platforms address these issues.
Topic: Competition and Mergers
The proposed merger between telecommunication giants Shaw and Rogers would reduce the number of major providers and reduce competition. Many consumers are concerned about the concentration of market share in numerous industries.
The Conservative platform pledges to “stand up to corporate Canada and reject mergers that substantially reduce competition and lead to layoffs and higher prices.” It pledges to create a technology task force within the Competition Bureau to examine “whether dominance and anti-competitive behaviour of big tech is damaging to Canadian industry.”
It also observes that “executives of companies that fix prices or abuse their dominant positions should go to prison, and companies that abuse their power should be broken up.”
In the context of competitiveness in the digital world, the Liberal platform includes implementing its Digital Charter proposal from 2019 that would “strengthen privacy protections for consumers, and provide a clear set of rules that ensure fair competition in the online marketplace.”
Its commitment to “modernize Canada’s competition laws to address the challenges and evolution of today’s economy”, is included in a section about retail gasoline pricing. That section also includes a promise to “boost the power of the Competition Bureau to proactively investigate allegations of anti-competitive activity in the gasoline market.”