Mr. Weston Goes to Ottawa
As you and I know, all too well, food prices are through the roof. The members of parliament who sit on the House of Commons agriculture committee are trying to get to the bottom of this issue for us. Fingers and toes are tightly crossed so the work they do ultimately brings prices down.
In response to consumer outrage, members of the Agriculture Committee in Ottawa will host Loblaws president Galen Weston and other grocery big wigs tomorrow. It’s important to note that he is the only grocers’ president who’s accepted to face the committee, so far.
How will our members of parliament grill Loblaws president when they have him all to themselves?
Will they get into the range of things that influence prices that we pay?
Will Mr. Weston admit that prices have risen while the amount of food in many packages has gone down?
Hopefully our parliamentarians don’t accept easy answers, or ones that deflect the responsibility of the rise of food cost to manufacturers or brands.
Loblaw 2022 FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
Revenue was $14,007 million, an increase of $1,250 million, or 9.8%. Retail segment sales were $13,694 millions, an increase of $1,208 million, or 9.7%. ◦ Food Retail (Loblaw) same-stores sales increased by 8.4%. (Source Loblaws Feb 23, 2023).
If as mentioned in committee in December the explanation for the high cost of food is global challenges like extreme weather, higher input costs, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply-chain disruptions, committee members should press for answer on why then the profits are so high. Is Loblaws absorbing any these costs or is it just passing them (and then some) on to we consumers? How about other grocers? Are store brands like No Name more within their pricing control than others? Why not extend the end of year price freeze Loblaws announced for those?
Committee members are working hard, but are they working in vain? I would like to see every party leader, even the Prime minister, in the committee room to listen to Mr. Weston. This would show how important it is to them and to us. This is one issue where we need all members of parliament to represent us without failure. We are not able to boycott grocers. We need to eat. Our only way to get answers is through our democratic system.
Wednesday is March 8, National Women’s Day, the committee members should be the best they ever been, if not for women at least for Canadians. To be continued.
What questions do you want Parliamentarians to ask top grocers? Let us know on our socials!