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Dan St. Yves: Santa’s bag of anti-competition helpfulness

Santa St. Yves

Santa St. Yves

Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well hello boys and girls! Santa is back for yet another year, trying to sort out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. I’ve even brought along my red velvety bag of “holiday helpfulness”. This year, I’ve chosen to help lighten the load of the lovely folks over at Canada’s Competition Bureau. It can’t be easy trying to protect Canadians week in and week out from evil monopolies (although Santa has to say, Mr. Monopoly sure appears to be a kindly old fellow. Based on appearances, we could almost be brothers!).

Santa would certainly never presume to tell the Competition Bureau how to do its job, but he is prepared to offer up a touch of holiday help by suggesting a few glaringly anti-competitive industries it may have overlooked in its otherwise eager efforts:

1) Gas stations. Oh sure, there are loads of gas stations across Canada, owned by many different companies. But are there substantial price differences between any of them? No! Santa can drive his sleigh all over the country, and never once find even one town that offers significant differences between “competing” chains. And when one raises their prices (just before long weekends in the summer – is that legislated or something?), THEY ALL DO! Santa says – anti-competitive!

2) Dollar stores. Santa feels that this is VERY anti-competitive. Why aren’t there Twoonie or Nickel stores? How about even a few Dollar-And-A-Quarter Stores? This feels an awful lot like price-fixing to me, boys and girls. I’d put Dollar Stores on MY naughty list!

3) Lawyers. Ho Ho Ho! Santa imagines that there are a few people out there who might enjoy acting like Perry Mason, and spend their workdays sparring in court – along with the big bucks that can accompany that gig. But you have to actually take courses, and adhere to a code of ethics to be a lawyer (interesting – are there any other industries like this?). Should that prevent us from wearing a black robe and calling ourselves lawyers? I don’t think so – that seems to smack of anti-competitiveness to Santa. Open those doors, Law Society! Objection, Your Honour!

4) Canada Revenue Agency. Best remembered as Revenue Canada, this is a glaringly obvious monopoly, with the singular legal ability to pick the pockets of every Canadian year-round. Why is it that other folks aren’t allowed to do the same, or at least compete with the CRA? Competition Bureau, kindly check into this voracious government institution, and give every Canadian a present this year!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Well boys and girls, Santa can only offer so much advice – and the more that I think about it, I have to worry that I might be considered a monopoly, or anti-competitive. Sure, the Tooth Fairy gives out money, and the Easter Bunny gives out eggs, but only Santa brings around his sleigh full of gifts every year at this time, right? At least for now…Happy Holiday Season, everyone!!!

Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at www.nonsenseandstuff.com, or contact him at [email protected].

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