As It Happens

No time for Tim Hortons: Alberta politician boycotts coffee chain over Enbridge ad flap

The leader of Alberta’s Wildrose party is accusing Tim Hortons of bowing to pressure from American environmental groups who want Canada turned into “a huge national park."
(cp images)
Listen7:39

The leader of Alberta's Wildrose party is accusing Tim Hortons of bowing to pressure from American environmental groups who want Canada turned into "a huge national park".

The coffee chain yanked ads for the energy company Enbridge from its in-store screens yesterday, in response to an online petition, that included more than 30,000 signatures. Enbridge is behind a controversial  plan to build a pipeline between Alberta and B.C.  

Wildrose leader Brian Jean was among several Canadian politicians to boycott Tim Hortons after the company made its decision.  He tells As it Happens host Carol Off that he got his coffee "elsewhere" today.

"I"m not gonna go to Tim Hortons until they apologize. I don't think they really know what they are doing.  I thought it was a joke at first, Carol. I couldn't believe someone would take a position like this against our energy industry."

Jean explains that he believes American environmental groups are behind the petition.

"I don't believe any significant amount of those people are customers of Tim Hortons. They are     people from the U.S. that are involved in environmental movements and movements to (stop) getting our oil to market."

Asked if he has evidence of that, he replies, "No, I don't."

Jean explains he saw similar campaigns from groups in Ottawa when he was a Member of Parliament. He then doubles down on his double-double boycott by suggesting that there is a conspiracy to keep Canada from getting a fair price for its oil, and that the interest groups want the country turned into a "huge national park."

"They want to shut down the oil industry in Canada and to make sure Canada turns into a big huge national park…. And it's clearly what the U.S. and many of its citizens think - that Canada should be a place that they can withdraw our natural resources, and our most important resources, which is people, and they should work hard and make less than what they deserve as a fair market value."

He says there's an even larger issue at play behind the scenes.

"I think what it comes back from is quite a number of people in the US who believe Canada should not be in charge of its own destiny, so however you look at it, it's clear that is the number one issue."

He points out that Tim Hortons operates in countries such as Dubai, where rights are limited, but the company is "banning operation in Alberta."

He says he hasn't told Tim Hortons his reasons for boycotting.

"I think they've already heard it loud and clear. My particular message has reached 51,000 people  in the last 2 hours on Facebook for instance.  So, if they don't know what's going on in Canada in particular, they are about to find out."

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