MP responses to why they voted against measures to lower food prices

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by | Published , updated Jun 19, 2024

Parliament voted on the following Opposition Motion sponsored by NDP MP Alistair MacGregor on June 5, 2024:

That, given that the cost of food continues to increase while grocery giants such as Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys make record profits, the House call on the government to:

(a) force big grocery chains and suppliers to lower the prices of essential foods or else face a price cap or other measures;

(b) stop delaying long-needed reforms to the Nutrition North program; and

(c) stop Liberal and Conservative corporate handouts to big grocers.

Opposition Motion (Measures to lower food prices)

All Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MPs voted against it, except for Liberal MP for Fleetwood—Port Kells Ken Hardie.

As a bit of a background, the NDP may learn a valuable lesson from this vote. Quite a number of my colleagues were prepared to support it, until the NDP included a ‘poison pill’ (a political term) that others on our side felt was too critical to support. Sometimes a party will do that to make a point with their supporters, but it can work against what might otherwise be achieving a decent consensus on the issue.

Nonetheless, after making a fuss about Big Grocery and Big Oil, it was not all that hard to look past the shot they took at us ;o)

MP Ken Hardie, only Liberal MP to vote in favour – Fleetwood-Port Kells, BC Source

It wasn’t a ‘bill’ per se, it was a motion that included language that was needlessly partisan in the way it criticized the government’s handling of Nutrition North and generally the way we’ve dealt with the big grocery chains. It’s called a ‘poisoned pill’ because if you vote for it, you’re confirming that what they’re criticizing is true according to the language they’ve used – and they will use the vote against you in further campaign communication. If you vote against it, you will be criticized for opposing terms the public would be likely to support, and this will also be used against you for partisan purposes.

Your reaction suggests that you didn’t pick up on the ‘pill’ the NDP included in its motion, and perhaps most people wouldn’t have.

Liberal MP Ken Hardie

Asked why their vote was “Nay”, here were their responses. Not all MPs were identified so that the Reddit users could remain anonymous.


Ryan Williams, CPC MP for Ottawa South

Good morning,

Thank you for taking the time to email. We have passed your concerns to MP Williams.

As Shadow Minister of Pan Canadian Trade and Competition, MP Williams fights for increased competition in the grocery sector everyday in Ottawa.

MP Williams believes that regulation is important when it comes to competition, however, so is innovation. Manufacturers are charging excessive amounts for their products because there is not enough competition. Conservatives want to make sure there is regulation, companies are held in check and Competition Act changes are made. MP Williams has a bill that changes the efficiencies defence.

When looking at competition, we need small players to grow and compete. We also need to make sure we have innovation. The Liberals and NDP only focus on regulation, and not innovation or competition.

There are new innovations right now. People can order groceries on their phones, and they are delivered to their doors. This eliminates the warehousing and the retail store. The biggest advantage that Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro have, besides the leader of the NDP’s brother working for one of those companies, Metro, is real estate. The biggest monopoly in some of that real estate is the real estate investment trusts. They own all the land.

Grocery stores are going to be tough to compete against because they own the land on which they reside. Grocery right now is basically a real estate game. They own the land on the right side of Main Street, and people driving home from work, driving to work or on the weekend get groceries for their families. They have a complete and utter monopoly on how we get groceries to Canadians.

When we talk about what we need for competition, of course we need to talk about regulation, but we have to talk about competition in Canada. No aspect of this motion talks about taking on manufacturers and their large profits or looking at who can grow in Canada. We are looking at how locally owned grocers can play a part in competing in the Canadian economy.

It has to be about distribution, which is part of innovation. It has to be competition, meaning we are bringing more competitors in. It has to be regulation, but regulation also means that we get rid of the burden of the carbon tax, which we know is increasing those prices. None of that is in this opposition day motion.

Together, five companies combine for more than three-quarters of all the food sales in Canada. Why would the government approve a merger that would raise prices for those consumers? Canada needs solutions to bring grocery prices in check and more competition is a key part of this.

This happens all the time with oligopolies. Dozens of studies now show that, every time a merger goes through, prices go up. More importantly, studies now are showing that, through oligopolies and mergers, wages are going down.

Furthermore, Conservatives will continue fighting these mergers, to create and grow new businesses to compete as competitors and create competition and choice in Canada.

Kind regards,

Office of Ryan Williams

David McGuinty, CPC MP for Ottawa South

Dear Pierceful

Thank you for your email regarding the recent Opposition Day motion.

Food affordability is a critical issue facing all Canadians and the Government of Canada is taking a series of actions to promote the stabilization of grocery prices. The government has called on companies throughout the food supply chain, both grocers and suppliers, to take meaningful actions to stabilize grocery prices. Recent data has shown that food inflation has slowed, but the Government of Canada will continue to take action to stabilize food prices to ensure that Canadians are paying fair prices for groceries.

The Government has enacted or proposed significant amendments to the Competition Act through Bill C-19 (Royal Assent in June 2022); Bill C-56 (Royal Assent in December 2023) and Bill C-59 (currently in the Senate). These amendments seek to enhance competition to improve affordability and consumer choice by modernizing Canada’s merger review process, revamping enforcement, addressing environmental and labour concerns, and ensuring that the Act is internally consistent and in line with Canada’s legal framework as well as international best practice.

These changes to the Competition Act were informed by consultations carried out in 2022, which sought Canadians’ views on a wide array of competition policy topics, including changes that would help the Competition Bureau better protect consumers and the integrity of the marketplace. Canadians were invited to make submissions online until March 31, 2023, and those submissions have since been published on the Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) website. A series of roundtables have also been held with a variety of stakeholders to ensure the government heard diverse views.

The Consultation garnered significant interest, receiving over 130 submissions from identified stakeholders, as well as more than 400 responses from members of the general public. These submissions raised over 100 potential reform proposals.

In December 2023, the Parliament of Canada adopted a first set of legislative amendments to the Competition Act through Bill C-56, the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act. The amendments made a number of landmark changes, including: a framework for the Competition Bureau to conduct market studies with the potential for compulsory information-gathering powers; expanding the scope of anti-competitive business collaborations to include those between businesses that are not competitors or potential competitors in certain circumstances; repealing the “efficiencies defence”, which permitted otherwise anti-competitive mergers and collaborations to withstand challenge where they generated sufficient economic efficiencies to offset harm to competition; and permitting remedial orders against abuses of dominance on the basis of anti-competitive intent or effects alone (instead of both), as well as raising maximum monetary penalties that may be in effect when both are proven.

As of April 2024, the government’s most comprehensive response to the consultation, a set of further, wide-ranging amendments proposed to all areas of the Competition Act, are currently navigating the legislative process via Bill C-59, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023. Broadly, these would modernize the merger notification and enforcement process, significantly increase the scope of review and consequences for anti-competitive collaborations, broaden and incentivize private enforcement, and address government priorities within the framework such as labour and the environment.

The Grocery Code of Conduct is an industry-led process that aims to bring transparency and certainty to commercial dealings across the agri-food value and supply chain by establishing a framework for dispute resolution and governance through the establishment of a Grocery Code Adjudicator’s Office. The concentration of large grocery retailers have lead to abuse of dominance by imposing unilateral and retroactive retail fees, with limited or no avenues for recourse.

Both the reports from the Competition Bureau and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on the grocery sector have recommended implementing a Grocery Code of Conduct to create a balance in the grocer-supplier relationship. The code is viewed as in instrument to improve transparency, predictability and respect for the principle of fair dealing in supply chain relations.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations is the only federal funding mechanism of its kind to support these organizations to conduct research and encourage financial self-sufficiency. The Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations is a grants and contribution program managed by the Office of Consumer Affairs and dedicated to supporting a broad range of consumer advocacy organizations.

The Nutrition North subsidy program makes a difference in northern communities by helping residents save money on food and other essential items. Over the past few years, the subsidy program has increased the number of communities served, maintained increased subsidy rates since the onset of the pandemic, and added food banks, charities, and local food producers to the program.

Since the launch of the program, the number of communities supported has increased from 79 to 124. Nutrition North Canada works directly with northern and Indigenous partners regularly to determine whether communities are eligible, based on isolation and other requirements. Since 2022, nine communities were added to the program, including the communities of Moose Factory, Ontario, and Fox Lake, Alberta in 2023.

The Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund are central to the Government of Canada’s response to improve food security in the North, by creating less local reliance on store bought food, and supporting culturally relevant harvesting and food sharing practices. Feedback from partners has been very positive.

Since 2022, the Government of Canada has invested $144.7 million in eligible communities through the Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund. Funding is distributed through 24 signed grant agreements with Indigenous governments and organizations to strengthen supports for traditional food systems in in 112 isolated communities.

By March 2024, Nutrition North Canada will have transferred over $76 million to the four regional Inuit organizations across Inuit Nunangat. In addition, Nutrition North Canada provided Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami with $80,000 to directly support Inuit-led research to help create new opportunities, such as buying clubs and subsidized direct ordering by community members to retailers and suppliers.

Thank you again for writing.


Office of Hon. David McGuinty, P.C., M.P., Ottawa South


Andrew Sheer, CPC MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle

I really appreciate you taking the time to share your strong convictions with me about the rising cost of living under Justin Trudeau’s government. I hear your concerns, and I greatly value your input.

Canadians from coast-to-coast are experiencing firsthand the damage that Justin Trudeau has inflicted on our economy. Fifty-three per cent of Canadians can’t keep up with the cost of living. Groceries are costing families thousands more this year. The cost of housing is leaving many Canadians unable to afford a roof over their heads, and the dream of homeownership has slipped away for millions of families, with prices up a record amount just this year.

His massive deficits have forced the Bank of Canada to create billions of new dollars out of thin air. This instant money has flooded through our economy and is another major reason why inflation is skyrocketing. More dollars chasing fewer goods means higher prices.

Meanwhile, fuel costs have skyrocketed thanks to Justin Trudeau’s ongoing hostility towards the oil and gas sector and his government’s lack of support for energy pipelines. Canada has some of the largest oil and gas reserves on the planet. We should be energy independent but instead we import hundreds of billions of dollars worth of petroleum products from some of the most corrupt and environmentally reckless regimes on Earth.

Only the Conservatives will continue to be the voice for the millions of Canadians left behind in Justin Trudeau’s economy and who are looking for relief from Canada’s affordability crisis. It’s time to get government spending under control and for a new approach that will create a dynamic and more prosperous Canada. It’s time to cut Liberal waste and failure and to put an end to their high tax, high debt agenda.

Please be assured that I will continue to closely follow developments surrounding these issues and that I will continue to do everything in my power to hold Justin Trudeau’s minority government to account.

Again, thank you very much for your comments.  Should you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Andrew Scheer, MP


Dan Albas, CPC MP for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola

Dear Sir,

Thanks for the email. While I have some sympathy to the need to address the well reported shortcomings of the Nutrition North program, this motion by the NDP would be counterproductive to those in remote communities.

The history of price controls are well known. While there can be some relief in the short term, they often lead to shortages and in a country as big as Canada, it is often the rural and remote that end up bearing most of the brunt. Just look at the experience of the 1970s and 1980s, where price controls were brought in by Trudeau Sr.

It was not only myself but the vast majority of the House of Commons voted against, with only the NDP voting in favour.

While I can appreciate the sentiment that you share- that there are many that would benefit from a drop in food prices, this is not the way to proceed.

Reducing the cost of inputs like fertilizer and transportation by removing the carbon tax would be helpful as was suggested when I asked Professor Charlebois (otherwise known as the food professor) of Dalhousie University would have a positive effect on helping lower the costs of production and transportation of food- something that would help every Canadian struggling for food security.

Whether or not my vote in the House of Commons is acceptable to you, I do want to thank you for this opportunity to be accountable. If more Canadians took the time to express their views on the issues we are discussing in Parliament, our democracy would be better off.


Dan Albas MP


Brad Redekopp, CPC MP for Saskatoon West

Thank you for taking the time to write to me as the Member of Parliament for Saskatoon West regarding food affordability in Canada.

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with rising food prices. Rising food prices affect families at the kitchen table and restaurants. Sylvain Charlebois’ projection that food prices will rise by seven percent in the first of 2023 is very concerning.

One of the key causes of rising food prices in Canada is that the inputs that our farmers need to grow our food have become more expensive. The price of fuel, feed and fertilizer has gone up exponentially the past two years because of the government’s carbon tax. The government wants to triple the tax by 2030; this will make growing food even more expensive. Farmers are forced to pass on higher input cost to consumers because they do not make a lot of profit and use what little profit they have to maintain their farms.

My Conservative colleague, Ben Lobb, sponsored a bill which would repeal the carbon tax on farmers who are using natural gas to run their farms. This will make it less expensive for farmers to grow the food we eat; food and by extension your grocery bill will be more affordable because of less input costs.

As this bill progresses through Parliament, my Conservative colleagues and I will fight to ensure it passes.

I hope this addresses your concerns and please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.



Thank you for writing me as your Member of Parliament for Saskatoon West regarding the need for an affordable and competitive Canada. I agree with you: Canada needs strong competition laws. Strong competition laws are essential for our free-market economy to remain healthy, and control monopolistic forces and business practices that abuse the common citizen.

This costly NDP-Liberal coalition government has played it fast and loose with monopolies. Instead of protecting interests of everyday Canadians, they’ve given handouts to their big corporate friends in Toronto and Montreal. Conservatives stood against the Shaw-Roger merger that the Liberals let through. We have also called on Trudeau to reject the RBC-HSBC Bank merger.

We cannot trust that any NDP-Liberal competition reform would go far enough, or accomplish anything of substance, based on their track record of facilitating such actions. Rather, a Conservative government under Pierre Poilievre will put Canadians before corporations.

Conservative’s will continue to fight for affordability for Canadians. We will axe the Carbon Tax, which has driven up prices on groceries and all goods, and we will reign in inflation. You can see me advocate for these issues on behalf of on my Facebook page here:

I hope this addresses your concerns and please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.


Jenica Atwin, Liberal MP for Fredericton-Oromocto

Thank you for reaching out to our office to express your concerns regarding the increase of grocery prices. Having worked as a teacher and being a mom, I know firsthand the extent to which these issues affect Canadian families. I can assure you that food security is one of my priorities and that I intend to advocate for Canadians every step of the way. Every Canadian should be able to afford to put food on the table. Inflation and the rising cost of life are particularly affecting grocery prices. I stand with Canadians and Canadian families in advocating for lower grocery costs and more food security. The government is committed to working on this issue and has recently taken additional measures to support food security. We have implemented the Canada Child Benefit, which will give Canadian families money to help them put food on the table. The government also asked major grocery CEOs to create a concrete plan to stabilize food prices in Canada last October. Through this, we are expecting discounts on a selection of grocery staples, price freezes, and price matching. We are also continuing engagement on the Grocery Code of Conduct to improve the grocery supply chain. Currently, there is extensive research being done on the possibility of a National School Program and on food policy that I hope will result in some prompt action. However, I am aware that these measures are not enough, and that we must continue to work on ensuring that grocery prices are affordable. I will bring up the points you highlighted, such as the implementation of anti-trust laws, in discussions with my colleagues in the House of Commons. Thank you again for reaching out to our office. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions or concerns.

Jenica Atwin Member of Parliament for Fredericton-Oromocto


Chris Bittle, Liberal MP for St. Catharines

Regarding your comment – I voted against because it’s a non binding motion that if you put it into force you’d dramatically increase prices. Price controls don’t work and haven’t worked in the past.

Our goal is to improve competition including trying to lure a new grocery store chain and change competition laws to give regulators more enforcement powers.

At the same time climate change remains one of the main drivers of food price increases and we will continue to be a leader on that front.


It was a non binding motion that ultimately wouldn’t work. Sure it would theoretically lower prices on some items but it would dramatically increase prices elsewhere. It was tried in the 1970s and didn’t work.

We’re focused on giving more teeth to our competition laws and trying to attract a new grocery retailer to Canada.

At a very high level, one of the largest drivers of food prices is climate change and we remain committed to bring [sic] leaders on that front.


Unnamed MPs

Thank you for reaching out to me with your concerns about the rising grocery prices. I share your frustration and recognize the significant burden that these increases place on families in Westman and across Canada. I appreciate your thoughtful suggestions for tackling this issue and want to assure you that addressing the affordability of essentials like food is a priority for me and my Conservative colleagues.

You are absolutely right that the current trend is unsustainable and deeply troubling. It’s clear that stronger measures are needed to ensure fair competition and to protect consumers from price gouging. Price-fixing, collusion, and shrinkflation must be addressed with the utmost seriousness.

It is also important to recognize the broader context of these issues. For nine years, the policies of Justin Trudeau’s government have failed to curb rising food prices, forcing Canadian families into difficult choices between basic necessities like eating and heating their homes. Last December, Canada’s Food Price Report predicted an additional $700 annual increase in food expenditures for the average family. This comes on the heels of a record-breaking year for food bank usage, with over two million visits in one month.

The NDP-Liberal government is missing an opportunity to lower food prices by passing Conservative Bill C-234, which aims to remove the carbon tax from farmers, thereby lowering food costs that are passed on to consumers. Instead, Justin Trudeau and his radical Environment Minister did everything possible to delay and undermine it. The common sense Conservative approach advocates for axing the carbon tax on everything, which would directly lead to lower prices on food, fuel, and home heating for Canadians.

It must be added that Jagmeet Singh and the NDP have consistently supported Trudeau’s carbon tax increases, which have contributed to the rising cost of living. It’s also worth noting that Jagmeet Singh’s top spokesman and brother’s company is a lobbyist for Metro Inc., a major grocery retailer. This raises questions about their commitment to tackling grocery price inflation and protecting Canadian consumers.

Rest assured, our Conservative team will continue to advocate for policies that will bring relief to Canadian families, including pressing for the passage of a carbon tax carveout for farmers. By focusing on practical, common sense solutions, we can address the root causes of rising food prices and make life more affordable for everyone.

Thank you once again for your message.

Best wishes


Thank you for your correspondence regarding food prices.

I did not support the NDP Opposition Day motion (price controls for groceries) because this motion talks about high food prices while refusing to address the two main factors driving food inflation in Canada: out of control Federal Government spending, and the carbon tax.

The increase in grocery prices has happened under this NDP-Liberal government.

It is Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh who must answer to Canadians why they continue to implement policies that make Canadian groceries more expensive.

Continued inflationary deficits and the carbon taxes have increased the price of food for families.

They tax the farmer who grows the food, they tax the trucker who transports it and they tax the stores who sell it. All those taxes get added to the bills of the families who buy the food.

Conservatives will axe Justin Trudeau’s inflationary carbon taxes to bring down food prices and make life more affordable.


Critical response to the MPs’ messages

Proposed follow up questions

  • What has been their work in drafting a measure that is better than this one?

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