At Home: The fix is in for Quebec gas prices
As if Canadians haven’t been hit hard enough with the recent increases at the gas pumps, several Quebec companies have recently been charged with price fixing.
So far, charges have been laid against 13 people and 11 companies, all of whom are accused of fixing the price of gas in the province. As well, the federal Competition Bureau told reporters that it is continuing to investigate price fixing at the pumps in other parts of Canada.
The companies and individuals charged in Quebec were operating in Sherbrooke, Magog, Victoriaville and Thetford Mines.
Of the parties charged, CBC News reports that three companies and one individual have pleaded guilty ?to related charges.?
The companies are facing up to $2 million in total fines. Among those companies is Ultramar Ltd.
According to the commissioner of the Competition Bureau, Sheridan Scott, the announcement of the charges at a June 12 news conference ?sends a clear message that the Competition Bureau will take action to stop price fixers whenever we have evidence that they have broken the law.?
The allegations by the Competition Bureau state that the gas retailers contacted each other and agreed on prices to set at the pumps. As the CBC reports, the individual operators accused ran gas stations ?under the banners of Shell, Esso, Petro-Canada and Irving Oil.?
One Ultramar employee, Jacques Ouellet, received a fine of $50,000. A fine of $1.85 million was levied against Ultramar, while a combined $179,000 in fines was set for Les Pétroles Therrien Inc. (operating under the Petro-T banner) and Distributions Petrolières Therrien.
In a statement released June 12, Ultramar has said it will not fight the charges. The company’s motorist sales network vice-president, Christian Houle, told reporters ?This is obviously a regrettable situation that we deplore.?
Wiretaps, searches, and informants formed part of the Competition Bureau’s ?extensive investigation,? which took place between 2004 and 2007 and resulted in the recent charges.
Consumer advocates have applauded the move. As a spokesman for l?Union des Consommateurs, Quebec’s consumer watchdog, told reporters, the charges ?give a clear signal to those who will be tempted to [create] cartels not to do it.?
In Foreign News: More than one ?Olympic Games? for China
When the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing finally wrap up, China’s Olympic Games will be far from over. In fact, they’ll still be getting started?in life, that is.
A popular custom in that country is to name children after events or virtues, and the Olympic Games are no different. According to the BBC, over ?4,000 children in China have been given the name Aoyun, meaning Olympic Games, in the past 15 years.?
The name is more popular for boys than for girls. More than 92 per cent of the 4,104 registered Aoyuns are males.
The popularity of the name was first noticed in 1992, the year China tossed its hat into the ring to host the 2000 Games. At that time, around 680 Aoyuns were registered. Another surge came in 2002 after China was chosen as the host of the 2008 Games. An additional 553 Aoyuns were named at that time.
National pride in children’s names isn’t limited to the Olympics. Other names honouring common events and popular slogans include Space Travel, Defend China, and Build the Nation.