Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 4, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Business policy bill to be revised OTTAWA (CP) The Liberal government is trying again to win parliamentary, approval for its business com- petition policy, with Cor- porate Affairs Minister Andre Ouellet apparently ready to make some concessions to critics. The bill was reintroduced in the same form Wednesday as in the last Parliament by Mr. Ouellet, whose department wrote the bill. However, a series of amendments will be proposed by the government when it goes to Commons committee for detailed study. The business lobby that has opposed successive competi- tion bills since 1971 is ex- pected to react again. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, representing corporate members and 700 boards of trade across Canada, is one group that plans another submission. The bill proposes amend- ments to the Combines Investigation Act, a 1910-era statute that still contains the basic machinery for regulating business combines in Canadian industry. Canada's largest cor- porations have so far largely rejected the government's contention that the bill is a reasonable proposal to protect consumers and small business from trade monopolies, price- fixing and deceptive selling practices A senior corporate affairs department official says decisions have not yet been reached on all the amendments to be proposed by government at the com- mittee level, but he said many will be changes approved last spring by former corporate af- fairs minister Herb Gray. Those amendments were primarily aimed at defining more clearly the intent of the bill. They apparently did little to allay fears expressed by big business, particularly about the discretionary civil powers to be given a regulatory restrictive trade practices commission. The bill proposes the com- mission be given authority to review trade practices that might be judged undesirable in certain cases, including: by companies to deal with certain businessmen. on a consignment basis, exclusive dealing by which a supplier requires a customer to buy certain products only from him. restriction that occurs when a supplier re- quires a customer to sell only in a prescribed market area. The body would be able to order an end to such practices if it decided, after a review, that they were detrimental to the public. The powers to be granted the commission were broadly opposed by businessmen, part- ly on the grounds, they said, that there would be no right of appeal against a commission order. But a department official says that in fact the Federal Court Act does permit a re- not a full ap- commission decisions. He indicated little 'change is likely in this proposal. Other provisions of the bill include proposals to extend the law to regulate services and professions in addition to products and provide for in- jured parties to recover civil damages from companies con- victed of unfair business prac- tices. Fossil energy pricing major issue-Macdonald JOHN TURNER NAMED IMF CHAIRMAN WASHINGTON (CP) Canada's Energy Minister Donald Macdonald said Thurs- day that consensus on what the correct world price should be for fossil fuels is critical in efforts to conserve energy use. Underpricing of the resources would encourage inefficient and excessive use, hastening the time when they will run out, the minister said in a luncheon address to the American Enterprise In- stitute. Mr. Macdonald also told the group conservation of oil, gas and coal consumption, par- ticularly by industrialized countries, is of high priority until alternative energy Oil debts main issue WASHINGTON (CP) Fi- nance Minister John Turner of Canada said after his election Thursday as chairman of a new international economic policy committee that the problems of oil debts will be the priority issue for the group. The 20-member committee, formed at this year's annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund will be giving guidance to co-ordinate economic policies of various countries. The committee has directed the IMF staff to prepare a study on how to deal wiOi the oil-debt problem, declaring it an urgent matter. A report is to be completed within 3V2 months. The committee, however, will be an advisory body and part of its job will to establish the groundwork for formation of a permanent committee with executive powers. Crea- tion of that committee, with broader powers, requires approval of at least 76 of the 126-member countries in the IMF. Turner said Wednesday he would not accept the chairmanship unless he was convinced that there was a political will among the leading industrial powers to make it effective. He was elected for a two- year term and the com- mittee's next meeting will be between Jan. 15 and 16 in Washington. The IMF administrative staff is to prepare a report for that meeting on what is called recycling of oil money. Countries, which must import oil, have accumulated huge debts because of higher estimates go as high as billion for this re-cycling refers to the problem of distributing that money into investments in the developed and under- developed countries. The interim committee's communique, issued after its organizational meeting Thur- sday, said staff study is a matter of urgency. 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"If the world- is to avoid a course of alternatively un- derpncing these resources and then suffering a scarcity of supply, a more precise view of the real price of these resources must be found." Mr. Macdonald told the meeting it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) performed a service when it increased oil prices by focus- ing attention on rapidly depleting world supplies of fossil fuels. Experts felt if present con- sumption rates were to con- tinue, world supplies of oil, natural gas and coal would be Natural gas shortage expected NEW YORK (AP) Public utilities are warning businesses across the United States that they may not get natural gas for heating this winter. Some utilities are refusing to accept new customers, industrial or residential. An Associated Press survey showed there is a shortage of natural gas in almost every area, with the East Coast ap- parently facing the most- severe problem. Natural gas provides 31 per cent of the energy used in the U.S. Spokesmen for the utilities and some state officials blame the Federal Power Commis- sion (FPC) for the shortage. They say the FPC ceiling price for natural gas is too low and discourages exploration "The companies need more money to explore and get additional said George Bloom, chairman of the Penn- sylvania Public Utilities Com- mission. Other officials note that as fuel oil became more expen- sive, many people switched to natural gas, boosting the de- mand over a short period of time without development of new supplies. Meanwhile, The Associated Press learned that federal officials are preparing con- tingency plans to deal with a possible shortage of coal if miners walk out when contracts expire Nov. 12. The plans include diversion of some coal supplies from electric utilities to other in- dustries, an embargo on coal "exports and standby-legisla- tion under which industry could be ordered to. cut production. They also include plans to seek legislative authority for an excise tax on electricity in the event of a need to reduce demand. Nixon curses photographer at hospital LONG BEACH. Calif.