Advance View: No political price likely to be paid

For many retailers, the Christmas buying season will determine whether the ink on their bottom line for the whole year will be red or black. 

People buy a lot of stuff at this time of year – it takes a big chunk out of their pocketbooks.

Consequently, Christmas gift pricing plays a large role in the financial well-being of both consumers and shopkeepers.

That’s what made this December the perfect time for industry minister James Moore to roll out some new teeth for the federal Competition Bureau to supposedly take a bite out of irrational price differences between goods sold in Canada and the same items sold across the border in the United States.

Of course, Moore is just flapping his political gums. The legislation as currently outlined is completely ineffectual. There are no significant penalties for transgressors, and anyway, the Competition Bureau already is short of the resources it needs to cover its mandate – how can it be expected to investigate a whole new set of extra complaints?

Not only that, but the falling Canadian dollar (against the US Greenback) will reduce the current price differences between the two countries, or offer an easy disguise for higher cross-border expenses to hide behind.

But that’s what makes it a particularly clever political manoeuvre for this time of year. Moore’s gesture sounds encouraging to consumers who are fed up with what they see as price-gouging aimed at Canadians, while the retailers and wholesalers who may or may not be responsible for the price differences need not worry that they’ll suffer any consequences.

The timing is also perfect for the Harper Conservatives to reap maximum benefit for the 2015 federal general elections. Legislative initiatives like rebuilding the Competition Bureau take a lot of time. Meanwhile, consumers (voters) can bask in the message that someone is finally “listening” – but there will be too little time to tell whether they’re really being heard.

– B.G.

Just Posted

Upcycling: possibilities endless for Langley artists using recovered items

Past winner enjoys taking garbage, and not recycling but upcycling it into something better.

Walnut Grove liquor store move turned down by council

For the second time since December, council has voted against the plan.

UPDATE: At least two hospitalized after plane leaves runway at Abbotsford Airport

Incident occurred around noon on Friday; Transport Canada investigating

VIDEO: Langley crews prepare for salting and plowing

With heavy snow expected, crews are working 24-hours until the weather system passes.

TransLink says 28 new Skytrain cars to arrive early

The cars for the Expo and Millennium lines will now be delivered three years earlier

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Canucks fold 5-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

That’s a wrap: B.C. Games results after Day 1

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 is in the lead for medals Friday at the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Most Read