Melanie Aitken reflects on her tenure as Canada’s Competition Commissioner

Lexpert‘s October issue is out today, in print, digital and app formats (for Android and Apple devices), and in it we have a special guest column from former competition commissioner Melanie Aitken, in which she looks back on her recently completed tenure and offers some advice on how to effectively engage a Bureau that seems to be more focused than ever on the consumer. (For instance, Aitken filed a suit against Visa and Mastercard for policies deemed anti-competitive resulting in inflated expenses for retailers.)

Picture taken December 8, 2010. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Here’s just some of what Aitken had to say:

“… while there may be value to a public- or government-relations campaign that wraps your transaction in the Canadian flag, it isn’t relevant from the Bureau’s perspective, and may actually heighten skepticism. National champion arguments highlight the risk that the deal is conceived not to promote the health of Canadian markets, but to facilitate a monopolistic merger, to the detriment of businesses and consumers.”

“… in calculating your approach to the Bureau, keep your eye on the strategic objective. Shape the facts up front to meet what you anticipate to be areas of concern. As you choose your points, consider whether, even if you have a good argument, it’s wise to press it at all costs. It is often the lawyer, impressed with his or her own creativity, who doggedly pursues an argument, only to exhaust and distract Bureau staff.”

“Push back with facts, by all means, but also be candid about significant issues. Staff will spend less time pursuing peripheral issues if they feel reasonably certain they aren’t being played.”

Although the digital edition is only available to subscribers, non-subscribers can get sneak peek of the issue, including Aitken’s column, by clicking on the widget below.

– David Dias

Look inside >
Playing Nice with the Bureau

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