Skip to main content

Singh to prioritize 'lowering prices for Canadians' bill, Poilievre pushing 'building homes, not bureaucracy' bill

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is slamming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plans to implore grocery stores to stabilize prices and improve competition as "vague" and unlikely to prompt change, attempting to frame the New Democrats as the only party that will take tackling "corporate greed" seriously, with plans to push the issue when Parliament resumes.

Ahead of Trudeau's announcement, Singh's office told CTV News about plans the NDP leader had to kick off the fall sitting by tabling a bill aimed at tackling essentially the same efforts: empowering Canada's Competition Bureau to tamp down corporate powers and practices such as price gouging. 

On Monday, when the House of Commons resumes for the first time since June, Singh will be tabling a private members' bill called the "Lowering Prices for Canadians Act" that a senior source in his office said will be the party leader's priority.

The bill seeks to make changes to Canada's Competition Act in three main ways, the source said:

  • Allowing the Competition Bureau to crack down on "price gouging" with increased fines aligned with those in place in the EU and Australia, for practices such as price-fixing and overcharging;
  • Providing the agency more tools to prevent corporate mergers in order to "better protect" consumers; and
  • Making it easier for the Competition Bureau to go after companies who engage in anti-competitive tactics by lowering the threshold from having to demonstrate intent in engaging in bad corporate behaviour, to demonstrating the impact of that action on consumers or the sector.

The source, speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, told CTV News that the bill seeks to respond to recommendations made by the Competition Bureau—an independent law enforcement agency focused on protecting and promoting competition in Canada—as well as the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project. 

Singh has had his sights set on wealthy corporations in Canada and the powers they wield throughout his tenure, but in his speech to the NDP caucus last week, he specifically pledged to fight "greedy CEOs."

"We all know corporate greed is causing inflation, and that's what we need to fight. People get angry when they see how hard it is for them to get by, while others are living better than ever…. When I talk to people who are angry about the cost of living, it makes me want to work harder for them, and to make Ottawa work for them instead of the rich and the powerful," Singh said to applause on Sept. 6.

Private members' bills (PMBs) are sponsored by an MP and move through the House in the same way as government legislation, but on a different schedule.

At the start of each Parliament, MPs draw numbers to determine their standing in the PMB lottery. The lower their number, the earlier they’ll have a chance to table and advance a bill of their choosing.

MPs often pick issues close to their constituents, or other widely agreeable aims, in a bid to better their chances of getting the bill through. Not all will see their turn come up before the next election.

Singh's turn is coming up next week and the expectation is that this bill will receive its first hour of debate in late October or early November.

After having spent the summer drafting it, and hearing from Canadians who are feeling the pinch particularly on their grocery bills, his office is optimistic that its aims are agreeable enough to secure the votes needed to see it advance through to the House Industry and Technology Committee for further study.

However, now that the Liberals have come out with a comparable plan for legislation of their own, the prospect of securing enough cross-party support for Singh's version is looking less likely.

Here’s what the Liberals are now proposing:

  • Calling for major grocers to "stabilize" grocery prices in the near future, summoning the leaders of the largest grocery chains to Ottawa for "an immediate meeting," noting they won't rule out tax measures to enforce stability;
  • Introducing a series of legislative amendments to the Competition Act, including enhancing the agency's powers to compel information from companies and empowering the bureau to "take action against collaborations that stifle competition and consumer choice."

"After months of silence on the issue, Justin Trudeau claimed he’d address the high grocery prices. But his plan is vague and doesn’t force CEOs to act," Singh said in a statement following Trudeau's announcement. "New Democrats are going to continue to use our power to force the Liberals to take urgent action for Canadians. People can't afford a government who delays and disappoints instead of delivering the help they nee."  


As for what bill the Conservatives will be prioritizing next week when Parliament resumes, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre made public on Thursday his planned priority private members' bill: the "Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act." Poilievre said he'll table it on Monday, but this pledge too has seemingly been coopted by the Liberals.

Poilievre's bill, which will have to follow the same legislative path as Singh's, proposes a handful of measures, including: 

  • Requiring big cities to increase the number of homes built by 15 per cent each year, compounding annually or face losing federal funding;
  • Rewarding cities who exceed housing targets by providing building bonuses;
  • Removing the GST on the building of new homes with rental prices below market value using pre-allocated Liberal Housing Accelerator Fund money; and
  • Imposing penalties on "egregious cases of NIMBYism" and empowering Canadians to file complaints with the federal government.

One obstacle potentially facing Poilievre is that private members' bills cannot contain provisions requiring spending taxpayer money unless it's granted what's known as a royal recommendation obtained by the government. 

Given the heated political competition underway between the two parties on the housing file, should that stamp of spending approval be needed, it's unlikely it would be granted and this bill would fail to advance.

Just prior to Poilievre announcing his bill's aims, a senior government source told reporters attending the Liberal caucus retreat that Trudeau will be picking up and advancing the GST removal pledge, a policy aim the party once abandoned, as part of a series of coming affordability measures being announced on Thursday.

The prime minister confirmed this on Thursday, saying the Liberals plan to introduce legislation to remove the GST on the construction of new apartment buildings for renters and will be calling on the provinces that currently apply provincial sales taxes or the provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) to rental housing to follow suit.

"If Justin Trudeau is serious about axing the tax on housing construction, then he'll back my common sense 'Building Homes not Bureaucracy Act' which does exactly that," Poilievre said.

Facing a barrage of questions from reporters on Thursday about his new suite of affordability-focused measures and their similarities to proposals from his opponents, Trudeau said he thinks Canadians expect an "evidence-based government" to look at the latest data to make sure they are "responding with real solutions to real challenges." 



ANALYSIS What do the policies Poilievre's party passed say about the Conservatives' future?

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre spent the summer speaking about housing affordability, a core focus that attendees at the party's Quebec City convention were quick to praise him for. But by the end of the weekend, delegates opted to instead pass policies on contentious social issues. What does that say about the Conservatives' future?



opinion Don Martin: Poilievre doesn't feel your pain, but he's sure good at communicating it

Probably no other leader, including Justin Trudeau, has landed in a party leadership with less real-world work experience than Pierre Poilievre, says Don Martin in a column for But Poilievre's an able communicator, and this weekend's Conservative convention is a golden opportunity for him to sell himself as PM-in-waiting.


opinion Don Martin: Who will step up to have 'The Talk' with Trudeau?

Ego and vanity are a potent combination in leadership politics, and in his exclusive column for, Don Martin writes this condition is infecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mindset as he seems deadly serious about seeking re-election in 2025. Top Stories

Stay Connected