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Consumers, experts weigh in on supermarket CEO showdown in Ottawa

The heads of Canada's major grocery chains will be tasked with answering questions at the House of Commons this week about the rising cost of food.

While the people paying high prices are hoping for accountability, one industry expert in the Maritimes said that might not be what they get.

Loblaws president Galen Weston, along with the CEOs of Metro and Empire Company Limited -- which owns Sobeys -- are set to testify before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food Wednesday.

While Sylvain Charlebois of the Dalhousie University agri-foods lab was skeptical about this, he said grocery giants have to at least show their faces.

"I think it's going to be political theatre,” Charlebois said. “Out of respect [to Canadians], I think CEOs needed to explain themselves.”

A seniors advocate in Sydney is among the shoppers looking for answers.

Bernie Larusic says at least 30 per cent of the older population he represents has been hit hard by high grocery prices.

"I don't know if 'ripped off' is the right term, but I can tell you they can't afford the way things are going,” he said.

On Monday, officials from the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, along with Food and Beverage Canada and Maple Leaf Foods, were expected to be grilled by members of Parliament.

"Certainly, the one thing that I would want to see the committee doing is to understand how to make the Canadian market more competitive to help consumers over the long run,” Charlebois said. "Right now… things are pretty cozy for grocers."

Back at his home in Sydney, Larusic said seniors organizations in Nova Scotia will bring similar complaints to government.

"I think people should do the same thing,” he said. “They should call their MPs and MLAs indicating that things are tough here. What can you do to help us?" Top Stories

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