Miss Aitken (York-Humber):
I remember that some years ago somebody dreamed up a gimmick and put cards in cigarette packs. People collected these cards, and when they had a deck of cards they were entitled to a premium or gift. As I recall it there was no particular outcry against that, and there are no cards in cigarette packages today. In other words, these things come and go, but to legislate against them in our Criminal Code every time they occur seems to me to be ridiculous.
Mention has been made of the cost of these stamps and it has been argued that they inevitably cause the price of food to rise. The merchants using the stamps say that is not so, and that the increased volume of sales covers the cost of the stamps. As we know in this house-and we have been listening to 79951-0-48
examples in the last ten days-incredible things can be done by the manipulation of statistics. In the end it is the consumer buyer who judges cost, and I personally cannot believe that in this very competitive field of food merchandising one merchant is going to let another merchant undersell him, stamps or no stamps.
Some years ago, in 1956 or 1957, I wrote some columns in this subject of trading stamps because it interested me. This was before it became a controversial subject. I received a great many letters from those "poor simple women" who collected stamps as well as from some other people, and one of those was from a man who tried to explain to me how the costs are absorbed in this business. In the example he gave me he said there was a particular company which had a warehouse. To maintain this warehouse costs $50,000 a year. After introducing trading or discount stamps the company found that the volume of business increased so much that it was able to put on a second shift of workers. This, of course, gave added employment to the community. That was just an incidental. The cost of maintaining the warehouse remained the same, but there were two shifts of workers, and the second shift was paid for by the added volume of business. We have not heard of this kind of statistic today.
I can understand why socialists would introduce such a bill as this. Socialism is dedicated to more and more controls over private enterprise and competition.
Topic: CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC OPINION GALLUP POLL OF CANADA