In a year when COVID has had a devastating effect to many charitable events, Whole Foods finds itself enmeshed in a controversy over the wearing of the poppy. Annual poppy sales are the main fundraising event for the Royal Canadian Legion—an organization already facing dwindling membership because of an ageing population, The US based company says the symbol of remembrance does not conform to dress code.
An employee of the Whole Foods in Ottawa says she was told by a supervisor that wearing the poppy would be seen as “supporting a cause. Somewhat incongruously the company says it will allow employees to observer a moment of silence on November 11th.
“I was basically told … if they allowed this one particular cause, then it would open up the door so that they would have to allow or consider allowing other causes,” the employee told CBC News .has agreed not to name her as she is concerned about reprisals at her job.
Reaction has been swift. Under the hashtag #lestweforget, Premier Doug Ford tweeted, “t’s disgusting and disgraceful that @WholeFoods has banned poppies for their employees. We will always stand with our veterans. Whole Foods should apologize and immediately reverse this decision. Everyone should wear a poppy.” Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole tweeted, “The sacrifice of Canadians in the past provides the freedom for a US grocery chain to be stupid today. Let’s tell Whole Foods to stop trying to be Woke Foods. The poppy is not a cause, it is a sign of respect.” Canadian special ambassador Bob Rae tweeted, “This is outrageous. Wake up, Whole Foods. In Canada we show respect to veterans and those thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice by wearing a poppy.” Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted, “No one should be banned from wearing a poppy. Strongly urging @WholeFoods to rethink its unreasonable ban on poppies for employees.” Whole foods is owned by Amazon and has 14 outlets in Canada, including one in Oakville