This month, my NDP colleagues and I were successful in making sure that Parliament addressed the issue of how corporate greed is driving inflation – “greedflation” – not only in the House of Commons but also at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
I’ve called for investigation at committee into the relationship between high food prices and corporate profiteering in the grocery sector. This investigation will include inviting grocery CEOs before the committee to challenge their record profits while food prices are reaching record heights. I’m proud to report that my call for an investigation was supported unanimously.
Canadians are seeing the effects of profit-driven inflation every week. We see it when we fill up our vehicles with fuel, and we see it when we are at the grocery stores trying to buy good quality food. It is reaching a breaking point for too many families, forcing them to make difficult decisions that no family in a country as wealthy as Canada should have to make. Three of the largest grocery chains in Canada have reported record net profits this year. Empire’s net profits were up 27.8 per cent in two years. Loblaws profits were reported up by 17.2 per cent compared with those of last year, and Metro’s are up by 7.8 per cent for this year.
The NDP caucus and I have called on parliamentarians to recognize that corporate greed is a significant driver of inflation and to take further action to support families during this cost-of-living crisis. We want CEOs and big corporations to pay what they owe, and to close the loopholes that have allowed them to avoid paying $30 billion in taxes in 2021 alone.
I believe there should be an affordable and fair food strategy which will tackle corporate greed in the grocery sector by asking the Competition Bureau to launch an investigation of grocery chain profits, increase the penalties for price-fixing, and strengthen competition laws to prohibit companies from abusing their dominant positions in the market to exploit purchasers or agricultural producers.
I will continue to call out massive corporate profits and champion an excess profits tax so that we can reinvest in our communities. My NDP colleagues and I will continue this work until policymakers respond with effective policy to tackle this gross inequality.
Alistair MacGregor is the member of Parliament for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. He serves as the NDP critic for Public Safety and National Security, Agriculture and Agri-food, and deputy critic for Justice.
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