This podcast is from Canadaland
A Loblaws, or any other, modern-day supermarket, is many things. It’s a temple of abundance. A place where a consumer has more choice than the greatest kings, emperors and pharaohs had in their lifetimes. It’s a tech platform, tracking our every taste, transaction and even ailment. And it’s an ideological arena. Where everyday Canadians and grocery CEOs are battling over what’s to blame for our declining standard of living.
“Life is like a box of anti-competitive cinema chains that allegedly use their 75% market share to bully their competition, limit consumer choice and charge obscene junk fees. You never know what you’re going to get.”
Google, one of the world’s great tech monopolies, wanted to make a “smart city,” full of sensors and robots and self-driving cars. Toronto, one of the world’s most insecure cities, wanted a big tech firm to put it on the innovation map. What resulted was not exactly a match made in heaven.
For almost a century, the Irving family has run New Brunswick like a personal fiefdom. They own the newspapers, the industry, and, according to some, even the government. So how does a single family come to so thoroughly dominate an entire province? And what happens when that family starts to fracture and split apart at the seams?
Not only do the Big Five banks get away with charging exorbitant fees for basic services. Not only do they block any competitors by controlling Canada’s payment infrastructure. Not only are they totally entwined with the federal government. But the Big Five banks are about to get even bigger.
It’s been a hard few years for Canadian air passengers. And while no one blames the airline oligopoly for COVID or winter storms, air travellers have had to put up with a lot. But Canada has consumer protections to make sure that when something goes wrong, there’s a fair process in place to make sure everyday Canadians don’t get screwed over, right? Right??!
But Spotify, it’s nearly killed us Ticketmaster’s ground us to dust The companies got too large Now monopolies are in charge
Attawapiskat has become famous across Canada and around the world. Not for the natural beauty that surrounds it, or for the Cree culture of the people who live there. Instead, it’s become a byword for the toxic legacy of Canadian colonialism. But while Attawapiskat faced crisis after crisis, the community was sitting on a literal diamond mine run by the world’s most famous mining company. So why is it that a community rich in diamonds is so poor? And why did the government and De Beers do so little to help them through?
When you look at your pet, you probably see an adorable furball that you’d do anything for. A private equity firm sees dollar signs. Ever so quietly, faceless, big money firms have been consolidating Canada’s veterinary clinics. And vets are just the beginning.
A frank discussion with Canada's top competition cop.
Rogers and Shaw are getting ready to tie the knot. But before they can consummate their less-than-holy union, they have to get the approval of Canada’s competition tribunal and the federal government. And even though most Canadians would find this union highly objectionable, it’s likely to be approved. Because for 150 years, Canadian politicians have been talking out of both sides of their mouths. They claim they want to promote competition. And then they pass laws that do the opposite.
WIND Mobile, now known as Freedom, was a small company that tried to break through Canada’s telecom oligopoly. It did not have an easy ride. WIND faced numerous hurdles from regulators, it was subjected to dirty tricks from the telecom oligopoly, and was eventually sold to Shaw. But it also helped lower cell phone rates and brought in unlimited data and U.S. roaming, changing the wireless market permanently.
They’re the most hated companies in the country. And yet, they’re unavoidable. The telecom oligopoly seems to rule Canada’s economy with an iron fist. Canadians are paying more and more for our cell phones, cable and internet. So how was it that we ended up in this situation? And was it inevitable that things would get so bad?
Today, it’s a department store where you might go to buy perfume or cookware. But the Hudson’s Bay Company was Canada’s first, and its most powerful, monopoly.
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