Competition has always been a fundamental element in capitalism, and elsewhere. In Canada, the Competition Act aims to promote competition. Unfortunately, the Competition Bureau (the government agency tasked with applying the law) lacks the resources to increase competition. Most of the little resources it has are wasted in anti-competitive practices aiming to restrain businesses. Thankfully, Canada has been governed by the Conservative Party of Canada for years.
Lately, the transaction fees requested from merchants by some credit card networks have been growing. The Competition Bureau, which justifies its existence by populist attacks against successful businesses using practices portrayed by the Bureau as anti-competitive, has threatened the Evil Visa and MasterCard with legal action, blaming the very same practices the State has been adhering to for years.
But these threats have been dropped. Surely, the government has reasoned its agency in order to avoid market interference, right? Unfortunately, reality is quite different. Even with the Conservative Party of Canada in power, Visa and MasterCard feared impending interference to a point where they both "voluntarily" reduced their fees by some 10%, which sufficed to satisfy mister the Minister of Finance.
Visibly, after creating the Competition Bureau and backing its abuses, the Conservative Party of Canada cannot claim it promotes liberal conservatism. It would also be surprising if it was green conservatives who had won a ’Lifetime Unachievement’ Fossil award. And a government funding an agency which reduces competition with a > 50 million CAD budget - while pushing a "stimulus package" - is certainly not fiscally conservative. So if the conservative party is not conserving the free market and the confidence of investors, nor the environment, nor wealth, what is it conserving? Perhaps it is trying to conserve its seats.
Here is a proposal for a populist party in Canada - namely, the Conservative Party of Canada. Stop interfering with the market, or stop pretending to be conservatives, and rename yourself to what you truly are - one more Populist Party of Canada.