I can't help but feel Canon's move here is in response to both Beach and Adorama selling a lot of 5D Mark III's for a substantially less price than they normally do. This would quite likely led to lots of calls from Canadian (r)etailers bitching about how they are being undersold and can't do a thing about it.
It could also be that Canon (USA) is planning to reduce the cost of certain items to further selling more of them but this seems unlikely.
Be that as it may, I can't help but wonder if "MAP" applies to auction websites such as eBay and if it doesn't then there's a backdoor here that is still wide open.
MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) is part of the signed dealer agreement that the high-volume sellers have been ignoring. There have been some consistent offenders in MAP violation for years and it has put a lot of independent dealers out of business as a result.
For example, a small Mom & Pop shop gets the G15 the same day as the BIG retailers but Big & Huge blows 30 units out the door at $200 below MAP. Meanwhile, the Mom & Pop Store is just busy answering questions as to why people can find it else where for less, then that doesn't really mean every one is playing fair, does it?
Some one is violating legally binding terms of the dealership agreement and it isn't the Mom & Pop store. So, in order to give every one equal chance at a customer's business, manufacturers impose what is called a MAP, or Minimum Advertised Price. It's supposed to even the chances for customers to spread their hard earned dollar over the wealth of places from which to purchase gear. However, when some one likes to just open the semi trailer door and start a product toss at literally hundreds less than MAP, it makes a lot of people wonder why manufacturers tend to look the other way. It makes the smaller dealerships ask why the Big & Huge guys aren't being held to the same set of rules the little guys are.
Units, mojo. Units.
With diligence and repeatedly pointing this out to the Mfrs, it seems to be gaining ground that some thing is taking place and it needs to be dealt with.
As for shipping to Canada, I can, from personal experience, say that why would you want to? Regardless of size of box, the contents, or the way it's shipped, most, if not all people are subjected to Customs Fees upon pick up. Added shipping costs combined with major differences in market price means that one way or the other, some one is not paying the same price for the same gear.
Nikon can and does slap dealers on the wrist for even the simplest of MAP violations. As well, SONY will threaten to alleviate a dealer of their right to sell their products if they don't abide by their strict MAP policy. It was only time that all Mfrs have their feet held to the fire and enforce their dealership policies.
When it comes to auctions, if a product is an open box customer return item, it can be sold as such in the proper sales arena. It CAN NOT be sold under the premise as being new via a new product market and for a lower price, that's a major MAP violation. It has to be labeled as used, it has to abide by current market value, and it has to be backed up by the retailer in terms of honoring any warranty or other protected product status.
I look forward to the days of back door retailing to be over with. There's no need to maintain a monopoly on sales of any product. Or else we all should pretend its 1984 and there's only one retailer from which we buy our one type of camera. It's a free market system which has a set of rules for all to follow. It's a welcome endeavor seeing the Big & Huge guys having to play by the rules for a change.