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May 8th, 2024

Liberals gave millions of dollars to profitable corporate grocery stores: NDP

OTTAWA— On Wednesday, Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP Critic for Northern Affairs Lori Idlout called out the government for handing out public money to profitable grocery giants gouging Canadians.

New Democrats have obtained an Order Paper Question (OPQ) that shows the Liberals gave $25.5 million to Loblaws and Costco between 2019 and 2023 while they were making massive profits.

“Whether you live in Toronto or in Nunavut, you should be able to buy the food you need,” said Singh. “While you're deciding what you can and can't afford in the grocery aisle, the Liberals are deciding how many millions of dollars to hand out to Galen Weston and grocery giants. They gave over $25 million of public money to Loblaws and Costco while these corporations were already making massive profits.

“Right now, we have people boycotting Loblaws because both the Liberals’ and Conservatives’ failure to tackle corporate greed. It is the role of the government to make things fair, but instead Trudeau and Poilievre are busy making the CEOs of big grocery chains even richer. With an NDP government, people will get a break — not wealthy corporations.”

This money is in addition to the $2.35 billion in handouts to the three big grocery chains given by successive Liberal and Conservative governments.

Last quarter, the NorthWest Company, which operates the largest grocery chains in the North, posted gross profits over $205 million, up 10 per cent since 2022. Their CEO, Dan McConnell, made $3.9 million in compensation in 2022.

All the while, the NorthWest Company received $67 million in subsidies from the Nutrition North program last year. Nutrition North is supposed to make groceries more affordable, but northerners are still paying sky-high prices while CEOs get richer. In this week’s Northern Store flyer, a loaf of bread costs $8.99 in Arctic Bay, a single pineapple costs $11.99 in Talayoak, and a small bag of coffee in Igloolik is $18.

Idlout is questioning McConnell at a parliamentary committee later this afternoon.

“Residents in the north are paying astronomical prices for their groceries. Instead of defending people trying to buy food, the government is giving millions in subsidies to the Northwest company and there are serious allegations that they’re keeping a third of that money instead of passing it to consumers,” said Idlout. “People living in rural, northern communities deserve so much better. Often, people living in these regions don’t have other options to get affordable food. The government has to start defending consumers and stop handing over public money to corporate grocery stores make record profits.”