Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear again. The establishment Liberals and the corporate-controlled Conservatives both had the opportunity to take on the powerful interests of these CEOs, but they did not and have not done it.
Like the majority of Canadians, I believe that corporate greed is driving up the cost of food. That is what Canadians believe, because they know it to be true. However, the corporate-controlled Conservatives and establishment Liberals will not do anything about it. We will. That is what our bill is about, giving more power to consumers and less power to greedy CEOs.
Canadians have a major problem. While they are struggling to pay for groceries, Loblaws was making excessive profits of $1 million a day in 2022. What is even more frustrating is that the Liberals and the Conservatives think that is acceptable. The Liberals are protecting the profits of CEOs by sitting back and doing nothing. As for the Conservatives, it is simple. They want to put more money in the pockets of CEOs.
I have had enough of this system that favours the ultrarich. That is why I introduced the lowering prices for Canadians bill, which will give less power to CEOs and more respect to Canadian consumers.
Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Conservative Party have private chefs and folks who go grocery shopping for them. Therefore, maybe it is not a concern for them, because they do not realize the struggles of everyday Canadians. However, for everyday Canadians things are tough. If they do not have a private chef like the Leader of the Conservatives or the Prime Minister, things are tough.
Things are tough for people like Ambyr, who I recently met. She broke down in tears because, after doing her household budget six times, she still could not figure out how to balance the rent, the cost of putting gas in her car to get to work and the cost of groceries. Something had to go. She has a good job, is working hard and doing everything right, but she is still falling further behind.
It does not have to be this way; it should not be this way. It is this way because corporate-controlled Conservatives and big lobby Liberals have set up a system that benefits the rich CEOs and hurts the working people. We are going to change that. That is why we brought forward our bill, the lowering prices for Canadians act, that would force those corporate-controlled Conservatives and Liberals to support our motion that would benefit working people and ensure that the CEOs pay what they owe. We would take on their corporate greed.
The Leader of the Conservative Party is not who he says he is. He says that he is someone who cares about working people, but that is not the case when we look at his track record and at who runs the Conservative Party. It is interesting to know that 50% of the governing body of his party is made up lobbyists for greedy CEOs. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Conservatives continue to side with greedy CEOs and end up hurting working people. That is who they are. That is who they are governed by. That is who their leader is.
In fact, let us look at the increase in prices when the Conservatives were in power. It turns out that food prices went up by 25% when they were in power. Let us break that down: ground beef went up by 128%; coffee went up 89%; and apples, and I know the Conservatives love apples, went up by 43%. What went down in that same period were the taxes those corporate grocery stores paid. The reality is that the Conservatives gave massive tax giveaways to the richest corporations, hurting Canadians and benefiting their rich friends.
It does not have to be this way. That is why we are putting forward our bill, the lowering prices for Canadians act, which would bring down prices for Canadians, take power away from those greedy CEOs and give it back to the working people.
Under the Liberals, the cost of groceries increased by 30%. Instead of taking real action, they keep on wasting people's time.
When I was in university, I had to provide food and shelter to my younger teenage brother. I had to work hard at minimum-wage jobs. At today's prices I do not know what I would have done. The average family with young teenagers faces impossible odds. That is what motivates me to fight for people.
My bill on reducing prices for Canadians will increase fines on companies that abuse consumers and give the Competition Bureau more power to protect people. It will give less power to CEOs and more power to consumers. It will allow for more competition and better prices for people.
With the lowering prices for Canadians bill, we have an opportunity to see where the Liberals and Conservatives stand. Do they stand with their rich CEO friends or will they stand with working class Canadians? Will they stand with workers, families and people who are having a hard time buying groceries?
For eight years, we have seen where the Liberals have stood. For eight years, they have shown very clearly that they continue to protect the ultrarich.
We know where the Conservatives stand, because 50% of the Conservative Party's governing body is made up of corporate lobbyists for greedy CEOs. They work hard to protect the interests of their rich CEO friends. Let us see where they stand. When the Conservatives were in power, they gave $66 billion in tax giveaways to the richest corporation, which ended up hurting Canadians and families.
Let us see where they stand now. In March 2022, the Liberals and Conservatives opposed our efforts to make greedy CEOs, like Galen Weston, pay what they owed and bring down prices for Canadians when it came to their groceries. I invite the Liberals and the Conservatives to stop listening to their CEO friends, start listening to working Canadians and support our bill to bring down prices for all Canadians.
Canadians deserve a break. We have seen how high the cost of living is, and Canadians are hurting. Our bill would tip the scales back in favour of Canadians. It would increase penalties for corporate grocery stores that engage in price fixing or price gouging. Our bill would help support smaller independent grocery stores by stopping the anti-competitive behaviour of these large corporate chains. Our bill would increase consumer protections and give the Competition Bureau more power to crack down on the abuses by these large corporations. Our bill would also stop mergers, which end up hurting Canadians, like the merger of Rogers-Shaw, which reduces competition, increases prices and means a loss of jobs.
Everywhere we go, we hear Canadians saying they are paying more. This is our opportunity to put a stop to it. I challenge the corporate-controlled Conservatives and the big lobby Liberals to stand up for working Canadians instead of their CEO friends and support our bill.
I am tired of seeing people struggle while CEOs are rolling in dough. Food banks are busier than ever. Big grocery stores are making massive, record profits. Inflation means that people are not eating as well, and that is causing health problems. Meanwhile, the Liberals are telling people to look at the flyers if they want lower prices. They are mocking Canadians. We have to change that.
My bill will increase penalties for consumer scams, help small grocery stores by protecting them from the anti-competitive tactics used by big chains, give the Competition Bureau more power to crack down on abuses such as price gouging and stop mergers that reduce competition and hurt Canadians, like the recent merger between Rogers and Shaw.
It is time to lower people's bills. That is exactly what our legislation will do.
I want to close by talking about a serious problem. In Canada, there is a massive lack of competition. Whether we talk about banking, cellphones or grocery stores, there are massive oligopolies that basically control these markets. In each of these areas there is a handful of companies that control the market and it means that Canadians do not have real competition and do not have real prices that are fair for them. Compared to prices around the world, we are paying some of the highest prices when it comes to our cellphone fees. Our grocery prices are skyrocketing. It is a direct result of these oligopolies that Conservatives and Liberals have allowed to exist.
As a result of greedy corporations making huge profits, Canadians are struggling. When we ask Canadians, they agree. They believe the number one reason driving up the cost of groceries is corporate greed. I believe we need more competition and not less. I believe we need more protections for consumers and not more power for CEOs. That is exactly what our bill would do.
Contrary to the corporate-controlled Conservatives who want to give CEOs a free ride and the big-lobby Liberals who want to keep on helping out their CEO friends, our bill would take away power from the CEOs and put power back in the hands of working people, put power back in the hands of consumers and ensure that prices are lower and prices are fair. That is what our bill, the lowering prices for Canadians act, would do.
This is an opportunity to see where the Liberals and Conservatives stand. Do they stand with the CEOs or with working people? Do they stand with our bill, which would reduce the abuse of consumers; or will they continue to allow CEOs to make profits off the backs of Canadians? We will see very shortly where they stand.