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Gas Price Fixing in Ontario? Really?!?!?

in Automobile, Chutzpah, Gasoline

How do I write that in a more sarcastic way?

Given the news in Ottawa has a section where they publish “the price of gas tomorrow”, how is this possible without price-fixing?

The Competition Bureau (yes that is really a part of our government) has fined Mr. Gas, Canadian Tire, and Pioneer Energy up to about $2M for price-fixing in 2007.  The accused fixers plead guilty with the following being reported:

The pleas are as follows:

  • Pioneer Energy LP pleaded guilty to price-fixing in Kingston and Brockville, and was fined $985,000;
  • Canadian Tire Corporation pleaded guilty to price-fixing in Kingston and Brockville, and was fined $900,000; and
  • Mr. Gas pleaded guilty to price-fixing in Brockville and was fined $150,000.

That is from the Competition bureau’s website.

An interesting explanation about proving price-fixing is the following statement by the Competition bureau:

Price-fixing conspiracies are difficult to detect and prove. High or identical prices are not in and of themselves evidence of criminal activity. There must be evidence that competitors have made an illegal agreement to set those prices. When there are substantiated allegations of wrongdoing in the marketplace, the Bureau will not hesitate to investigate.

I guess I am glad they will investigate, and I suppose it is hard to prove, and it makes me wonder if the Competition Bureau might get targeted for cuts in the coming budget slashing exercise? Wouldn’t that be a convenient turn of events?

Who is surprised that there is price-fixing in Ontario gas stations? What will I be writing about next? The Sun may rise tomorrow morning? There are reports of the earth rotating around the sun?

{ 2 comments }

  • Andrea from Become a Consultant Blog March 22, 2012, 1:37 PM

    Well, the thing is – what’s the penalty for price fixing compared to the profit they get from the practice? It reminds me of how Vancouver Condo King Bob Rennie said that his $500 a month in towing and parking fines was outweighed by the business and personal benefits he derived from parking anywhere he wanted, anytime he felt like it. All these places will keep doing shady things till their costs for doing so rise above the rewards of doing so!

    Reply
    • bigcajunman March 22, 2012, 6:03 PM

      Note these are all smaller players in the game as well.

      Reply

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