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Does business merger damage Canadian identity?

Posted on September 3, 2014 by Taber Times

Hell has officially frozen over. Tim Hortons, a cherished piece of Canadiana, has been swallowed by a Burger King, a U.S. fast food goliath. Burger King is Home of the Whopper and its flame broiled burgers are delicious but the double double is as Canadian as Rush and Bob and Doug Mackenzie (for a more today reference, Justin Trudeau).

We Hosers are proud to call Tim Hortons one of our own. When a person (born in the 1970s at least) flips through the pages of an encyclopedia (yes, it is a thing) and turns to Canada — a picture of a Tim Hortons coffee shop can be seen. Ha ha, made you look.

Canada has many natural resources and one of them is Tim Hortons — a Canadian institution and morning meeting place plus the coffee gets coffee drinkers ready for the day. There are other coffee shops with clout but none compare to the Canadian-ness of a double double, done up right. It’s the Canadian Way.

Canada exports many goods and services to the rest of the world. There’s no doubt Burger King is doing smart business.
Tim Hortons is a goldmine. Just drive by one on most corners in Canada and you’ll see double line-ups, as far as the eyes can see at any given time of day. It really is a no-brainer business-wise for the Home of the Whopper.

It makes perfect business sense but it saddens a little piece of the Canadian in all of us. What’s next? Will poutine become the official snack food of Americans? Say it isn’t so. I’m sure many vacationing Canadians wouldn’t mind seeing more Tim Hortons throughout the United States and abroad. But still … what about the maple dip donut? It has no place out of Canadian hands, or does it? Only time will tell.

Looking into the future … a dystopian society with no Canadian pop culture, no Canadian uniqueness, no Canadian natural resources and no double double to sip and savour on a cold winter’s morn.
Is the Tim Hortons sale to a U.S. burger joint similar to The Simpson’s “Treehouse of Horror” episode when Homer sells his soul to the devil for a donut? Perhaps.

What if other out of country businesses want to come to Canada and stir up the pot?

What if Disney wants to buy Justin Bieber? OK, that one we can live with. What if a company in Sweden dips its hands in the Canadian maple syrup industry? Or a Colorado skiing company wants to wear official Canadian toques from our coveted toque stronghold? It’s like breaking the seal after a night of drinking. Once you break the seal — the seal is broken and the flow is unstoppable. Once Tim Hortons is gone … what will go next?

Our stereotypes aside, Canada is home to many great innovations, industry and resources. Canadians need to be in control of those interests. Canadian water, gas and oil, and coffee with two creams and two sugars need to be Canadian, at its core and around its edges.

Canadian interests can’t go off all willy nilly selling this and that and hoping for the best. Well, it can, it’s consumerism and business, as usual.

There are many Canadian politicians in the business of piping Canadian gas and oil to faraway lands, instead of keeping it maple leaf-like. There is some U.S. interest in our high-quality H2O. And the list goes on.

The Tragically Hip is Canadian, Nickelback is (dare I say) psuedo-Canadian, the loonie and twonie are Canadian, the two-four is Canadian and the provinces and territories from the west to the east and north are Canadian — let’s keep it that way.

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