It’s not a hard lesson to learn: Remembrance Day is for everyone. It’s a non-partisan event.
Yet it seems that every year there’s someone who doesn’t get the memo. This year it was grocery chain Whole Foods.
When reports first surfaced on Friday morning that Whole Foods had decided their employees weren’t allowed to wear poppies on the job it sounded so ludicrous that anyone would have been right to doubt if the story was true.
Oh, but it was. In fact, the store that for a while should have been known as Whole Fools issued a statement doubling down on the lunacy:
“Whole Foods Market honours the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve their country,” the company said in a statement. “We support Remembrance Day in all of our Canadian stores by observing a moment of silence on Nov. 11 and by donating to the Legion’s Poppy Campaign.
“With the exception of those items required by law, our dress code policy prohibits any additions to our standard uniform.”
Right. So they’re going to support Remembrance Day by banning poppies. Doesn’t cut it.
The outrage was swift and fierce.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford called it “disgraceful” and even proposed introducing legislation to protect workers who chose to wear the poppy at their place of work.
On Parliament Hill, the House of Commons passed a motion denouncing the grocer’s sad statement.
It must have been a long and messy day of crisis management for the company, but they finally did the right thing later on in the afternoon.
Lawrence MacAuley, Minister of Veterans of Affairs, posted to social media: “Just spoke to the Chief Operating Officer of Whole Foods. Employees will now be able to wear their poppies at work.
“The poppy represents those who’ve served, fought and died for Canada, and it’s deeply personal to everyone here. Glad to hear they’re changing course.”
MacAuley shouldn’t have had to explain to Whole Foods — an American company owned by Big Tech giant Amazon — that, yes, it is in fact a deeply personal occasion for Canadians.
Remembrance Day shouldn’t be a divisive occasion. Then again, most Canadians did come together united against this epic blunder by Whole Foods.