Mr. Speaker, let me thank the hon. member, my good friend from Davenport, for his question.
As well as the hon. member, a number of members in this House have received expressions of concern from the public about recent proposals outlined for mergers that could lead to increased media concentration in Canada. I am referring in particular to the recently announced proposal of CanWest to acquire control of Hollinger Corporation as well as the proposed BCE/Thomson and Quebecor/Vidéotron transactions.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention to the member and to the House that the competition bureau has primary responsibility to review mergers in order to determine whether they will have an anti-competitive impact in our country.
I can assure this House and the member that if serious competition concerns dealing with matters such as price or other economic issues are identified, the bureau will not hesitate, and I emphasize that, to immediately take appropriate action under the Competition Act to remedy these concerns.
The competition bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. As part of its analysis it will rely upon factual information brought to its attention by market participants as well as the input of industry and economic experts. These matters are assessed on a case by case basis and it is impossible to make any generalizations about the possible outcome of the bureau's review.
A fair, efficient and competitive marketplace indeed provides consumers with lower prices and greater product choices and it of course encourages companies to innovate and to offer new products.
Obviously many mergers also have a positive impact on the marketplace. However, there have been a number of well-publicized mergers in recent months, as the member very eloquently stated, where the competition bureau has found it necessary to intervene in order to remedy these issues that have come before us. These have involved major industries such as groceries, waste, propane, tobacco and cement—