Canadians want competition. Our Competition Commissioner needs better tools to fight for it.

Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell on the BetaKit Podcast
The Competition Bureau is the last line of defence for enforcing competition law. But our system is designed to keep the line moving.

Canada is a place where you may more for you cell phone and internet plan than most any other country in the world, but TekSavvy is looking for a buyer. Canada is a place where the price of bread is fixed, but the grocery CEOs defend “responsible profitability.”

Canada is also a place where Canada’s largest tech company offers new products to its merchants everywhere but Canada. Why? As one CEO put it to me, “There is not a single Canadian company that could have competitively bid for this work.” Why? Because there is (still) no open banking framework.

“People in Canada are at their wits’ end about areas of our economy having a lack of competition and how it impacts their pocketbook.”

As a business tech reporter, this stuff is compelling. As a Canadian citizen, it’s infuriating! It’s the reason why BetaKit made our #FreeBoswell teeshirts: because we want Canada’s Commissioner of Competition to be allowed to enforce competition in Canada.

Someone get this man a badge and a gun, lest we all be robbed by the three telecoms in a trench coat. Or the three banks in a trench coat, or whatever version of that tired joke is most timely.

Well, Matthew Boswell joins us this week on the podcast—in an interview recorded just hours before news broke that the Toronto Star and Postmedia are exploring a merger. But fighting for competition is not just about preventing anti-competitive mergers, and as Boswell explains on this podcast, preventing those anti-competitive mergers is very hard to do.

Because the way our system is constructed, it’s not really about making ensuring our economy stays competitive, just that the lessening happens at a steady pace, particularly if the anti-competitive realities are outweighed by business efficiencies.

Forget the badge and the gun, somebody get Commissioner Boswell some changes to the Competition Act.

Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Recorded at StartWell. Sponsored by Palette Skills.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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