Apologies for not sending anything last week. I was away at my cousin's wedding on Gambier Island in British Columbia. This was a beautiful spot about an hour drive from Vancouver and then a 20 minute water taxi ride. Vancouver and BC in September is absolutely wonderful - highly recommended. But please excuse any extra typos - this four-hour time change has really wreaked havoc for me this week.
1) E12: The Price Spreads Report - Retails as our Distribution System
In today's episode I dive into Chapter 7 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Price Spreads. This chapter is all about the 1934 Canadian retail scene and the impact of mass buyers, e.g. chain stores and department stores, on smaller retailers, producers and manufacturers. In case you couldn't guess - it wasn't good.
This chapter is titled 'Distribution' and got me thinking of our retail system as the distribution network for our producers and manufacturers. Looking at our retailers as the national distribution network caused me to think of retail as essential infrastructure just like streets, railroads, water or sewer lines, and power lines. Allowing anyone to dominate any of these pieces of infrastructure allows them to extract excess fees and expenses from others. We've let a handful of companies, like Wal-Mart, Amazon, LoBlaws, dominate our retail scene again. We need to reform our competition laws to free our retail scene from these dominant players.
2) CAMP's letter to Minister Champagne on the Competition Act consultation
CAMP has issued a letter to Minister Champagne with our calls for how the upcoming consultation on the Competition Act should be performed. This consultation needs to be fair, open and inclusive. It cannot be another consultation dominated by industry insiders and experts. If you and/or your organization would like to add your signature to this letter please reach out.
3) A Competition Act to benefit consumers.
From the Globe and Mail and the Report on Business Magazine, John Lorinc has a fantastic column on how and why Canada needs to update the Competition Act to benefit us and individual Canadians. Also - solid quotes from both Robin Shaban and Vass Bednar.
4) We need more Brandeis
Louis Brandeis was an American lawyer, a Supreme Court Justice from 1916 to 1939, and a fantastic quote. Brandeis was one of the leading lawyers and people behind the anti-monopoly movement in the early 1900's, He fought back against JP Morgan attempting to monopolize the New England railroads. He also was essential to the implementation of a lot of the New Deal legilsation.
Brandeis wasn't afraid of the monopolists, and he used his power to fight back. He didn't hope things would get better, he worked every day to make them better.
Reading the rest of Cory Doctorow's twitter thread is well worth your time and attention.
Psst...companies are using inflation as cover to push prices even higher and reap record profits. pic.twitter.com/T3ioKt8sCR
September 12th 2022