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Competition commish raises Realtor eyebrows

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Guest | 29 Jun 2012, 05:12 PM Agree 0

The tough Aitken gave no reason for the departure, but her move to step down will allow her to spend more time with family in Toronto.
She will leave having successfully fought some high-profile battles, including suing Visa and Mastercard over credit-card fees. She also tried to block a joint venture between Air Canada and United Continental Holdings.
Her high-profiled disagreement with Realtors has been just as charged, with the September hearing centred on Aitken’s charge that policies of the real estate board have had a “stifling effect on innovation, all to the detriment of consumers and brokers.”
The bureau is expected to argue for direct consumer access to seller information, without a Realtor as go-between.
Toronto Realtors are fighting back, saying giving out these details would threaten the “privacy and safety” of their clients.
In 2010, Aitken reached a settlement with the Canadian Real Estate Association over its online MLS listings, which included allowing for-sale-by-owner listings to be posted to Realtor.ca.
The Competition Bureau, an independent agency, called Aitken a “tough enforcer and a vigorous proponent of protecting and promoting the forces of competition.”
In a statement, the bureau said she “seized the opportunity . . . to make a difference in the lives of Canadians by ensuring that Canadian competition laws are respected.”
There is no word yet on who Aitken’s replacement will be.
  • Jim Reid, Broker | 03 Jul 2012, 05:29 PM Agree 0
    A close friend of Melanie at university commented that back then Melanie had a strong negative attitude towards the real estate industry and realtors.
    During the discovery phase her words were precisely those that would be used by the instigator of her whole investgation - Realty Sellers, who were a resurrection of a bankrupt discount brokerage.
    Real estate is the most competitive industry in Canada- bar none! The rule changes have effectively loaded concumers with a bit of knowledge that undermines our credibility. Internet property browsing by consumers gives a false sense of property values- like watching a million cars go by and declaring you are a car expert!
    The damage she has already done will force the individual independent contractors, 70% of us, into impoverished retirement, or into large teams owned by a few major corporations. A competitive industry will become just like the oil, food, commodities and other oligopolies within twenty years.
    We might celebrate her resignation, but she has already undermined the future competitiveness of the vast majority of professional realtors.
  • David Archibald | 04 Jul 2012, 07:11 PM Agree 0
    If Melanie Aitken is a “tough enforcer and a vigorous proponent of protecting and promoting the forces of competition.” then why is every gas station in town selling gas at 121.9 cents per litre - a coincidence?
  • tman | 04 Jul 2012, 11:14 PM Agree 0
    the wicked witch of west is finally leaving! Thank god, she has been nothing but a menace to Realtors!
  • Tony Sbrocchi | 04 Jul 2012, 11:22 PM Agree 0
    well said David, looking after whats fair for the consumers has not been her agenda, wow, no evidence of collosion between gas stations? please when I was teenager working for one, my job every day was to call the competing stations in my area to confirm price per litre, then adjust accordingly. Jim, you hit it right on the head, a personal vendeta by one can definately destroy the lives of many!
  • Patricia McCallum | 06 Jul 2012, 01:21 AM Agree 0
    Jim Reid, I echo your comments. I could not have said it better. She has done nothing but hurt the consumer in her un-provoked attack against the real estate industry. Good Riddance!
  • kmimedia | 06 Jul 2012, 12:37 PM Agree 0
    [url=http://http://www.canadianrealestatemagazine.ca/features/poll]CREW POLL question[/url]: Will Aitken's departure end the Bureau's fight with Realtors?
  • John L Murphy | 06 Jul 2012, 01:24 PM Agree 0
    There will be a lot more revealed as we move through the mess that Melanie Aitken has created in the Real Estate industry. While I will be the first to admit that there were changes required to our industry, this could have been accomplished through consultation and negotiations. Ms Aitken used her position (or should I say abused her position) to portray us as crooks. It is amazing that a Federal department as large as the Competition Bureau could be hood-winked into allowing this individual to use Tax payers dollars to launch a personal attack on a very well organized and respected association. This was nothing more than a personal vendetta. I think CREA and it's members should seriously consider launching a class action suit against Melanie Aitken and the Competition Bureau for defamation of character.
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