MP Ryan Williams votes FOR C-352 “Lowering Prices for Canadians Act”

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| Published , updated February 9, 2024

On Wednesday, February 7, 2024 Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams voted in favour of Bill C-352 “Lowering Prices for Canadians Act” on its 2nd reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology, which passed, 178 to 149.

All but 3 Liberals voted against, while all Conservative MPs and the NDP voted for:

There was reportedly an error on the House of Commons website, which had previously reported that the Liberal and Conservative votes were split:

What is Bill C-352?

Bill C-352 “Lowering Prices for Canadians Act” is a bill in the House of Commons of Canada introduced by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh which would update Canada’s Competition Act to increase penalties on companies for certain anti-competitive acts.

The update would add:

  • Higher penalties for price-fixing and wage-fixing of up to 3x the value of the benefit derived from the conspiracy or if that amount cannot be reasonably determined, 10% of the persons annual worldwide gross revenues. This could have led to higher penalties in the case of the bread price-fixing scandal.
  • Excessive and unfair selling prices to the list of anti-competitive acts.
  • Making “efficiency gains” one of a number of factors considered by the Competition Tribunal when determining if a merger or agreement can be approved, instead of a single legal reason preventing a merger/agreement from being blocked by the Tribunal. This could stop mergers that drive-up prices and hurt consumers, such as the Rogers-Shaw merger.
  • Preventing mergers resulting in large market shares if the combined market share of 60% or more, and preventing mergers if the combined market share would be 30% to 60%, unless it is “likely to result in substantial procompetitive outcomes, including reductions in prices, increases in supply, reductions of anti-competitive acts, increases in quality of goods or services, increases in wages and increases in consumer choice and consumer protection.”
  • Extended the review period for mergers from 1 to 3 years.
  • Increases Competition Bureau power to conduct inquiries into companies when a market study and reports on market conditions would provide insight into factors that are relevant to competition, not just when the Competition Bureau believes a company has broken the law.
  • Considering how a merger would affect the real value of exports, and substitution of domestic products for imported products when considering gains in efficiency.
  • Other changes

I would encourage anyone actually interested in this to watch the parliamentary debate about this bill.

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John Dela

This article isn’t using the most recent information despite being published on February 8, 2024, they used the first reading, not the second reading. After debate as well as changes throughout the months, Ryan Williams as of 2024, voted “Yea,” meaning yes to support the bill.

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