Google it, you will find lots of Canon camera problems -- though bear in mind that Canon are among the top sellers so, inevitably perhaps, they will have high number of failures -- not necessarily representing a high failure rate (percentage-wise).
Specifically, your issues with Canon (say the G9) -- responsibility usually lies with the retailer to remedy problems outside warranty.
Cameras are consumer durables and should be reasonably durable. Twelve month warranties usually state that the warranty does not affect your normal consumer rights -- which are between you and the retailer.
I agree that the retailer should have some responsibility but as is often the case they refuse to do anything and refer you back to the company. I feel that the company (Canon) is aware of the lack of quality in their products and is basically selling overpriced junk.