Prices, grocers called back to Ottawa to explain their plans

TORONTO – The heads of Canada’s major food chains will return to Ottawa to speak to MPs after the Agriculture Committee unanimously voted on an NDP motion to have them return and explain their plans to stabilize food prices. Which they should have already done, after the meeting held in recent months with the federal government which had threatened the same chains of “sanctions” – in the form of fiscal measures – in the absence of a price containment plan: threats that evidently never materialised, as prices remained high. 

“Prices have been unaffordable for twenty-two months and show no sign of coming down. Canadians cannot continue to sacrifice themselves so these CEOs can rake in billions” said NDP MP Alistair MacGregor who tabled the motion. The text, approved last Thursday during a closed-door meeting, states that if presidents and CEOs refuse to accept the invitation they will be summoned to appear. And if one of them does not respond to the summons, the committee reports this to the House of Commons, which can then take action.

Invited CEOs include: Galen Weston, Loblaw Cos. Ltd.; Eric La Flèche, Metro Inc.; Michael Medline, Empire Company Limited; Gonzalo Gebara, Walmart Canada Corp.; Pierre Riel, Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.

“[Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and [Conservative Leader] Pierre Poilievre have repeatedly demonstrated to Canadians that, for all their words, they are not interested in standing up to CEOs who are getting even richer on the backs of Canadians” MacGregor said. “They are letting Canadians down.”

The motion requires CEOs to “answer questions and explain the measures taken” to “stabilize and lower food prices”. It also calls on CEOs to prepare and submit “a comprehensive report” by November 2 detailing “further actions aimed at stabilizing food prices.”

The commission also invited Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to appear.

Pic by Jeremy Smith from Pixabay