Groups Want Cabinet Minister for Consumer Protection

    The creation of a Cabinet position for consumer protection a priority for
    Canadians: poll

    OTTAWA, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Consumer Initiative (CCI)
called on all federal parties to commit to establishing a Cabinet level
position for protecting consumers and to increase funding for consumer
organizations. Their demand is backed up by a new poll conducted by Nanos
Research for CCI that reveals more than 80% of Canadians believe the
appointment of a Minister for consumer protection should be a high or medium
priority for the next government.
    "Consumers are currently underserved by the federal government," said
Charles Tanguay, Director of Communications for Union des Consommateurs.
"These concrete measures we are recommending today will help raise the voice
of consumers in the corridors of power."
    "Canadian consumer groups have long advocated for increased measures to
protect consumers and to ensure there are significant opportunities for their
voices to be heard within government and in corporate boardrooms across the
country," said Bill Huzar, President of the Board of Directors of Consumers
Council of Canada.
    "To date in this election campaign, only the NDP have made a formal
commitment to establishing a federal cabinet position for consumer
protection," said John Lawford, Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy
Centre. "And, the Conservative Party has addressed, to a limited degree, the
issue of telecom regulation, an acknowledgement that they are aware of the
consumer problems in this area."
    "The next federal government must give consumers a voice in matters that
concern them, for example, food safety, banking, privacy laws,
telecommunications and copyright law," said Anu Bose of Option Consommateurs.
"It can do so by increasing opportunities for consumers to be heard at tables
where only government and industry now sit."
    According to the Nanos Research poll, support for a new Cabinet level
position for consumer protection is strong across demographic, regional and
party preference lines with 45.3% of Canadians overall saying such an
appointment should be a high priority, 36.6% saying it should be a medium
priority, 11.6% saying it should be a low priority and 6.4% unsure. That
support is highest among males (46.3% saying it is a high priority), Atlantic
Canadians (58.1% saying it is a high priority) Canadians over 60 years old
(51.2% for whom it is a high priority) and Bloc Quebecois supporters (50.8%
saying it is a high priority).

    The poll results are based on a random telephone survey of
1,200 Canadians from September 20th to September 22nd, 2008. The margin of
accuracy for a sample of 1,200 is +/-2.8%, 19 times out of 20. For more
details on the poll please see the attachment. For more information on polling
technique please visit

    The Canadian Consumer Initiative (CCI) is a coalition of six major
consumer organizations: the Alberta Council on Aging Services, the Automobile
Protection Association, the Consumers Council of Canada, Option consommateurs,
the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, and L'Union des consommateurs. CCI
provides advice and assistance to enable the federal government to safeguard
consumer interests.

For further information:

For further information: Steven Staples, Rideau Institute, c. (613)
290-2695,; Christopher Holcroft, Rideau Institute,
c. (416) 996-0767,

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