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NDP 'Greedflation' motion calling for grocery pricing probe gets unanimous support from MPs


An NDP motion calling on the federal government to take steps to tackle "greedflation," and investigate grocery chain profits, received unanimous support from MPs on Monday. 

The motion called out grocery store giants for making "massive profits in the last year," while the cost of groceries keeps rising. It also calls on the government 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." 

While not binding—meaning the federal government is not forced to act, but will have to take note of the House of Commons' unanimous request—the motion calls on the Liberals to:

  • Force CEOs and big corporations to "pay what they owe" by closing tax loopholes;
  • Launch an "affordable and fair food strategy" to tackle "corporate greed";
  • Ask the competition bureau to investigate grocery chain profits; and
  • Support a previously-agreed upon House committee study calling grocery CEOs to testify about "high food prices and the role of 'greedflation.'"

“After standing by for months, the Liberals and Conservatives finally agreed today that corporate greed is a problem,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in a statement following the vote.  

The vote came on the heels of Loblaw vowing to freeze prices of 1,500 No Name brand products until Jan. 31, 2023, citing the increased cost of Canadians' groceries which Loblaw chairman and president Galen G. Weston said was largely out of the grocery giant's control.

On Monday, Singh sought to take some credit for Loblaw's move, suggesting the timing of the announcement was no coincidence given today's parliamentary vote.

"Because of public pressure and our pressure to force grocery stores to start responding to the needs of people, we've seen a positive sign, Loblaws has now announced they're going to freeze the prices of their ‘No Name’ line of products. Now, while that's something that is a positive step, we're concerned that they're freezing the higher prices, the inflated prices, and that they could have acted a lot sooner," Singh told reporters on Monday.

Asked whether the Liberals’ backing of the NDP motion is an indication that the federal government agrees that grocery store chains are engaging in 'greedflation,' Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Monday that her government understands that the grocery store checkout counter is "probably" one of the places where Canadians are feeling the biggest pinch.

"I think that we collectively need to do everything that we can to push back against the high prices… I would really encourage all Canadian companies to take a 'Team Canada' approach to the challenge of the cost of living, and to really understand this is really hard for a lot of people," Freeland said.

In an interview with CTV News on Monday, Sylvain Charlebois, who is senior director at the Agri-foods Analytics Labs at Dalhousie University, said that while grocers around the world have been freezing prices lately, he's not sure it's the right answer to inflation.

"Price regulation will lead to shortages and will likely lead to higher food prices," he said. "So regulating food prices is the wrong thing to do."

Charlebois also pointed to research that the lab did over the summer that looked at financial statements of grocery chains and he said they couldn't find any evidence of profiteering. 




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