The Globe and Mail reports in its Monday edition that 50 years ago, pro-business forces instilled the idea in Canada that bigger was better. A Globe editorial said that larger companies would run more efficiently, and the gains would be a win for everyone. In 1986, Canada codified the new philosophy in the Competition Act. The first stated purpose of the act is to maintain and encourage competition "to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy." One section, which became known as the efficiencies defence, explicitly permits mergers that result in a prevention or lessening of competition, if those losses are outweighed by gains in efficiency. This legal trump card became an outlier among Western countries. In mid-September, ahead of broader changes, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau rushed out the big move that people across the political spectrum, from the NDP to Conservatives, are calling for: it is time to kill the efficiencies defence. The bill was tabled Thursday. This is, finally, the dawn of a new era in competition law. The U.S. government this month put Google on trial as an alleged monopolist. Facebook will be on trial soon. It is all happening as once-venerated ideas have been found lacking.
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