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Comparison with violations of “representation” in the Competition Act

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Comparison with violations of “representation” in the Competition Act

[Overview of Competition Act]

[Subsection 52(1)-52(2) of Competition Act]

[Subsection 74.01(1) of Competition Act]

[Comment: “Representation” in Competition Act]

The third legal initiative that was proposed in the spring of 2006 was:

(P-31-2)   Comparison with violations of “representation” in two sections of the Competition Act

www.DavidEmersonLegal.com noted in April 2006 that the Federal Competition Act contained Subsection 52(1)-52(2) on “False or misleading representations” and Subsection 74.01(1) on “Misrepresentations to the public.”

In his letter to Industry Canada about whether David Emerson engaged in false/misleading advertising, Alex Boivin alluded to political advertising being treated differently from commercial advertising in Canada. Yet it is interesting to compare what is unacceptable in the world of business competition under the Competition Act with what is allowed in Canadian politics under Canadian law.

Overview of Competition Act

The Competition Act (in English; in French) is enforced by the Competition Bureau which “is an independent law enforcement agency”, seemingly not directly affiliated to Industry Canada. The Bureau is headed by the Commissioner of Competition, Sheridan Scott.

(P-31)   Subsection 52(1)-52(2) of Competition Act

Subsection 52(1)-52(2) of the Competition Act on “False or misleading representations”, which is part of Part VI, “Offences in Relation to Competition”, is as follows (the green font is from the online English and French versions at the Justice Department):

 

 False or misleading representations             

 

   Indications fausses ou trompeuses    

 

 

 

   52. (1) No person shall, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever, knowingly or recklessly make a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect.

 

   52. (1) Nul ne peut, de quelque manière que ce soit, aux fins de promouvoir directement ou indirectement soit la fourniture ou l’utilisation d’un produit, soit des intérêts commerciaux quelconques, donner au public, sciemment ou sans se soucier des conséquences, des indications fausses ou trompeuses sur un point important.

 

 

 

 Proof of deception not required             

 

   Preuve non nécessaire    

 

 

 

    (1.1) For greater certainty, in establishing that subsection (1) was contravened, it is not necessary to prove that any person was deceived or misled.

 

    (1.1) Il est entendu qu’il n’est pas nécessaire, afin d’établir qu’il y a eu infraction au paragraphe (1), de prouver que quelqu’un a été trompé ou induit en erreur.

 

 

 

  Permitted representations                    

 

   Indications    

 

 

 

    (1.2) For greater certainty, a reference to the making of a representation, in this section or in section 52.1, 74.01 or 74.02, includes permitting a representation to be made.

 

    (1.2) Il est entendu que, dans le présent article et dans les articles 52.1, 74.01 et 74.02, la mention de donner des indications vaut mention de permettre que des indications soient données.

 

 

 

Representations accompanying products           

 

Indications accompagnant un produit    

 

 

 

    (2) For the purposes of this section, a representation that is

 

    (2) Pour l’application du présent article, sauf le paragraphe (2.1), sont réputées n’être données au public que par la personne de qui elles proviennent les indications qui, selon le cas :

 

 

 

    (a) expressed on an article offered or displayed for sale or its wrapper or container,

 

      a) apparaissent sur un article mis en vente ou exposé pour la vente, ou sur son emballage;

 

 

 

    (b) expressed on anything attached to, inserted in or accompanying an article offered or displayed for sale, its wrapper or container, or anything on which the article is mounted for display or sale,

 

    b) apparaissent soit sur quelque chose qui est fixé à un article mis en vente ou exposé pour la vente ou à son emballage ou qui y est inséré ou joint, soit sur quelque chose qui sert de support à l’article pour l’étalage ou la vente;

 

 

 

     (c) ....   

 

       c) ....

 

 

 

    (d) made in the course of in-store, door-to-door or telephone selling to a person as ultimate user, or

 

   d) sont données, au cours d’opérations de vente en magasin, par démarchage ou par téléphone, à un utilisateur éventuel;

 

 

 

    (e) contained in or on anything that is sold, sent, delivered, transmitted or made available in any other manner to a member of the public,

 

      e) se trouvent dans ou sur quelque chose qui est vendu, envoyé, livré ou transmis au public ou mis à sa disposition de quelque manière que ce soit.

 

 

 

is deemed to be made to the public by and only by the person who causes the representation to be so expressed, made or contained, subject to subsection (2.1).

 

   

 

 

(P-32)   Subsection 74.01(1) of Competition Act

Subsection 74.01 of the Competition Act on “Misrepresentations to public”, which is part of Part VII.1, “Deceptive Marketing Practices”, is as follows (the green font is from the online English and French versions at the Justice Department):

 

 Misrepresentations to public                

 

   Indications trompeuses    

 

 

 

   74.01 (1) A person engages in reviewable conduct who, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever,

 

   74.01 (1) Est susceptible d’examen le comportement de quiconque donne au public, de quelque manière que ce soit, aux fins de promouvoir directement ou indirectement soit la fourniture ou l’usage d’un produit, soit des intérêts commerciaux quelconques :

 

 

 

    (a) makes a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect;

 

      a) ou bien des indications fausses ou trompeuses sur un point important;

 

 

 

    (b) makes a representation to the public in the form of a statement, warranty or guarantee of the performance, efficacy or length of life of a product that is not based on an adequate and proper test thereof, the proof of which lies on the person making the representation; or

 

    b) ou bien, sous la forme d’une déclaration ou d’une garantie visant le rendement, l’efficacité ou la durée utile d’un produit, des indications qui ne se fondent pas sur une épreuve suffisante et appropriée, dont la preuve incombe à la personne qui donne les indications;

 

 

 

     (c) makes a representation to the public in a form that purports to be   

 

       c) ou bien des indications sous une forme qui fait croire qu’il s’agit :

 

 

 

    (i) a warranty or guarantee of a product, or

 

      (i) soit d’une garantie de produit,

 

 

 

    (ii) a promise to replace, maintain or repair an article or any part thereof or to repeat or continue a service until it has achieved a specified result,

 

      (ii) soit d’une promesse de remplacer, entretenir ou réparer tout ou partie d’un article ou de fournir de nouveau ou continuer à fournir un service jusqu’à l’obtention du résultat spécifié,

 

 

 

if the form of purported warranty or guarantee or promise is materially misleading or if there is no reasonable prospect that it will be carried out.

 

   si cette forme de prétendue garantie ou promesse est trompeuse d’une façon importante ou s’il n’y a aucun espoir raisonnable qu’elle sera respectée.

 

 

Comment: “Representation” in Competition Act

To make a comparison between the business and political worlds, you must equate a “product” and “business interest” with a candidate and their political offerings.

After doing this, it is interesting to relate the “False or misleading representations” of Subsection 52(1)-52(2) and the “Misrepresentations to the public” of Subsection 74.01(1) to what Mr. Emerson offered the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway by standing as a Liberal and then switching to the Conservatives. Particularly striking in this regard is what Mr. Emerson said in his victory speech on 23 January 2006, the evening of the Federal Election. He said: “I’m going to be Stephen Harper’s worst enemy. We’re going to stir the pot and you better believe we are going to make a heck of a lot of noise.” Then days later, he joined Stephen Harper’s cabinet.

 
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