moved for leave to introduce Bill C-365, An Act to amend the Competition Act (inquiry into industry sector).
Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is back with this bill. During the previous Parliament, my former colleague and the member for Shefford, Robert Vincent, introduced this bill. This is not the first time. This bill would give the Competition Bureau more teeth. Right now, there needs to be a complaint before the Competition Bureau will investigate price fixing by oil companies. There have been some striking examples of this, particularly in my region, in Victoriaville, but also in the surrounding area, in Thetford Mines, Sherbrooke, the Eastern Townships and all over. People have been found guilty of fixing the price of gas.
We want the Competition Bureau and police forces to have the power to conduct investigations without the need for a complaint. Back home, there was a complaint and there were some very good results: charges were laid in June 2008 and July 2010 against 38 people and 14 companies for fixing prices at the pump. This happened in Victoriaville, Thetford Mines, Magog and Sherbrooke. Eleven individuals and six companies pled guilty in this case, and they received fines totalling nearly $3 million. Of the 11 people who pled guilty, six were given prison sentences that added up to a total of 54 months in prison. A complaint was necessary for this to happen.
The purpose of this bill is to allow the Competition Bureau to use its expertise to initiate investigations without the need for a complaint. I think that this would greatly improve the situation with gas price fixing.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)