The donut speech, fact checked (II)

by Aaron Wherry

In addition to his letter to the editor, Erin Weir blogs a more expansive take on the Prime Minister’s donut speech. There he digs up the original Tim Hortons take on the company’s triumphant return.

Tim Hortons spokesman David Morelli said that while the company expected some interest, executives were “flattered by the reaction to what we thought was a pretty bland corporate announcement.”




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The donut speech, fact checked (II)

  1. I'm sure, given Wherry's extensive coverage of the issue when he lambasted Cannon, van Loan and Harper about the incident involving Suaad Hagi Mohamud in Kenya, that he would not mind that I post this update from the CBC:

    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/09/28…” target=”_blank”>http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/09/28


    In one interview with the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi, Mohamud indicated she was a student at Humber College and was studying fashion design. But in another interview, she denied it and said she was only thinking about going to school at Seneca College.

    The documents allege she lacked knowledge about Toronto, where she had lived for 10 years. She couldn't name Lake Ontario, and even though she took public transit to work, she had trouble explaining the acronym TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission.

    She didn't know that the acronym for her Toronto workplace, ATS, stood for Andlauer Transportation Services. She also couldn't name the current or previous prime minister and was unable to describe in any detail how she obtained her driver's licence.


    The documents also allege she gave a wrong date for her son's birthday and couldn't provide details on the circumstances or place of his birth.

    Mohamud also provided an incorrect date of her marriage, saying first that she was married in 2006, which contradicted the July 4, 1996, date on her immigration application. Mohamud divorced her first husband and married a Kenyan man in December 2007.

    The Canadian High Commission officer who conducted the interviews said Mohamud looked different from her passport photo, that she was six or seven centimetres shorter than her driver's licence stated and that her signature wasn't the same.

  2. I'm sure, given Wherry's extensive coverage of the issue when he lambasted Cannon, van Loan and Harper about the incident involving Suaad Hagi Mohamud in Kenya, that he would not mind that I post this update from the CBC:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/09/28


    In one interview with the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi, Mohamud indicated she was a student at Humber College and was studying fashion design. But in another interview, she denied it and said she was only thinking about going to school at Seneca College.

    The documents allege she lacked knowledge about Toronto, where she had lived for 10 years. She couldn't name Lake Ontario, and even though she took public transit to work, she had trouble explaining the acronym TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission.

    She didn't know that the acronym for her Toronto workplace, ATS, stood for Andlauer Transportation Services. She also couldn't name the current or previous prime minister and was unable to describe in any detail how she obtained her driver's licence.

  3. Because it's only fair to tell both sides of the story.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-

    “You would think they would bloody well have made sure their judgment was based on something more than thick lips…”

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-

    The Canadian Press tries to sort out what Messrs Van Loan and Cannon are doing.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/13/he-can-change-

    "Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended his government's handling of the case of Suaad Haji Mohamud on Thursday, saying officials have made it a priority to ensure the Canadian woman, who has been stranded in Kenya for 2 1/2 months, returns home.

    But rather than directly responding to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's criticism of the federal government's conduct, the prime minister hit back at the premier…"

    • Yup. Put that up against the extensive documentation, personal testimonies, DNA test and
      it certainly gives one pause.

      • Her statements were in contradiction in 2 different interviews .
        Has a pic of her sister surfaced yet?

      • Yes, I'm sure that they had an officer on the jet plane to Toronto to resolve the matter. Standard procedure. And a DNA machine in the closet.

  4. I'm sure, given Wherry's extensive coverage of the issue when he lambasted Cannon, van Loan and Harper about the incident involving Suaad Hagi Mohamud in Kenya, that he would not mind that I post this update from the CBC:

    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/09/28…” target=”_blank”>http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/09/28


    In one interview with the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi, Mohamud indicated she was a student at Humber College and was studying fashion design. But in another interview, she denied it and said she was only thinking about going to school at Seneca College.

    The documents allege she lacked knowledge about Toronto, where she had lived for 10 years. She couldn't name Lake Ontario, and even though she took public transit to work, she had trouble explaining the acronym TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission.

    She didn't know that the acronym for her Toronto workplace, ATS, stood for Andlauer Transportation Services. She also couldn't name the current or previous prime minister and was unable to describe in any detail how she obtained her driver's licence.

    The documents also allege she gave a wrong date for her son's birthday and couldn't provide details on the circumstances or place of his birth.

    Mohamud also provided an incorrect date of her marriage, saying first that she was married in 2006, which contradicted the July 4, 1996, date on her immigration application. Mohamud divorced her first husband and married a Kenyan man in December 2007.

    The Canadian High Commission officer who conducted the interviews said Mohamud looked different from her passport photo, that she was six or seven centimetres shorter than her driver's licence stated and that her signature wasn't the same.

      • Thanks, not sure what happened to my link.

    • Well, that definitely puts a different spin on things. Glad we're hearing the High Commission's side of the story at last.

      Incidentally, was it ever settled as to whether Suaad Hagi Mohamud really is who she says she is? If so, it'll be interesting to hear how she or her lawyer responds to this rather stunning catalogue.

      Methinks that $2 million suit isn't going anywhere fast.

      I'm going to go bone up on my Toronto geography.

      • Maybe there's a language barrier issue. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to explain to you a whole slew of acronyms for various organizations in Canada, and my first language is English.

        Also, if DNA proves her identity, I think that's pretty unequivocal.

        • If you watched the CBC exclusive interview, you would know she has no problem what so ever with the English language.

          '..wrong date for her son's birthday and couldn't provide details on the circumstances or place of his birth…'
          That is very very suspicious.

          • Touché. I don't watch television and don't generally watch news clips online either, I tend to read my news and something does really get lost in that.

            Jack Mitchell: Very true, it would be odd to live right next to Lake Ontario and not be able to name it, particularly if you came from a country where large inland bodies of water are uncommon.

            The story, on the whole, does seem particularly odd. Parts are plausible. The part about the son's birthday is bizarre. That said, I don't know that she would sue the government if she were an impostor. It's all very 'hmm' inspiring.

          • I don't believe she is an impostor (possible though, perhaps she has a relative she was impersonating). I think she is not terribly bright, and perhaps she was lying in the interview (sure I'm Canadian! I have a pet beaver, I eat maple syrup for dinner and I play hockey every day). Perhaps she doesn't spend much time in Canada at all.

        • Ah, right, DNA is it. Goes to show what the world was like before we had DNA tests.

          I must say, it doesn't say much for the Canadian and Ontario governments' work on acculturation and ESL that someone can live on the shores of Lake Ontario for 10 years (or whatever it was) and not know the name of the lake. Perhaps it's those darn waterfront condos.

          • Did she really "live on the shores" of Lake Ontario? That's mostly pretty pricey real estate (downtown at least).

            I mean, (this is totally besides the larger point, but…) forget knowing the name of the lake, one could easily live in Toronto for 10 years and not know there was a lake nearby! Toronto's a pretty big city. There are places in Toronto you'd need to make three transfers on the TTC just to get to Lake Ontario! I live in Toronto, and I almost never see the lake, let alone think of it. Besides which, ignorance of local geography, it seems to me is indicative that one IS Canadian! After all, didn't the Governor General misidentify the mountains in Vancouver recently? She'd better bone up on her mountain ranges before her next trip abroad if she wants back in!

          • LOL re: coastal vs. Rockies. And, yeah, you hit the nail on the head re: the Lake. I've actually never been down to it and I've been living in TO for two years. Oh, that's not true, I went to something down at a pier once. Anyway, in Toronto the main sign that there's a lake nearby is that the ground slopes ever so subtly in one direction. Different from, say, Regina in that respect.

          • Yes, and keep in mind that the City goes pretty far North. Where I live, there's no "slope" whatsoever, and it would take me about an hour on the TTC to get to somewhere that I could see the Lake from. So, even if you live within 20km of a lake, if you've never seen it it's not exactly shocking that you might not know what it's called.

            I remember frosh week at Queen's having to explain to a new Queen's student (whom one would think is at least reasonably well informed) why their cry of "Swim to Michigan!!!" as they ran in to Lake Ontario was misguided. You can swim to Michigan if you want, but you're going to have to portage between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and it's going to take you a LONG time! That's Watertown, New York over there!

          • But at least you'll have the river current in your favour as you swim from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, if I remember my Stockwell Day geography lesson correctly.

          • Well, an MP recently thought Georgian Bay is in Nunavut, I think it was Ablonczy perhaps?

            Although I find it hard to believe someone would not know about the lake in Toronto. That would mean that somebody had never been on the Gardiner expressway, had never been to Ontario Place, or the islands, or the beaches, or inside the CN tower.

      • Agreed. And, while not recollecting what the TTC stands for doesn't much concern me, not recalling the date of your marriage or kid's birthday does.

        I wonder: should we have biometric data stored on our ID cards? Would that have prevented this (and other) situations?

        • I don't know, but I do suspect that in third world and war torn countries time keeping and calendar dating are not the highest priorities. Also, my mother-in-law, born in Minneota, in Canada, in a shack, in a field, some 70 years ago has very confused birth records.

      • I suspect (and I suspected this from the beginning) that they high commission had no intention of revealing such details prior to her lawsuit, because there was no reason to embarass her in the press. It's not the public's business to know what happened in her dealings with the government and the high commission. But now that she has sued, it's time to let loose with the whole story. She will probably wish that she hadn't sued. But she's probably been listening too much to the Toronto Star and the other Conservative-haters in Toronto, who probably convinced her that it's perfectly normal to forget when you were married and to be 2 or 3 inches shorter than you think you are.

  5. As jwl implied in an earlier thread, it's disappointing that the PM didn't use this opportunity to hector Timmie for his abandoning of the key lime doughnut. We have a dearth of leadership in this country.

    • We are an old fashioned (glazed) country.

    • Clearly Harper never tried one of those delightfully delicious donuts or else he would have raised the topic.

  6. Tim Hortons spokesman David Morelli said that while the company expected some interest, executives were “flattered by the reaction to what we thought was a pretty bland corporate announcement.”

    Flattered? How come they weren't delighted?

    What a slap in the face to working people and their families.

  7. Another bald-faced lie by a government that assumes the bigger the lie the more likely Canadians will think it must be true.

    Where IS the media on this?

    Why does it take a week to start to get a hint of the truth, and even then, only in some blog? Why has it not occurred to anyone to actually interview anyone at Tim's about how Harper is politicizing their store for his own gain? Why didn't a single article quote these easily findable quotations from Tim's actual reasons for the move and the general sense that this was pretty ordinary and routine and not because of Harper's tax cuts?

    Those are not rhetorical questions, but in this environment of "hands off Harper" they might as well be.

    • "Where IS the media on this?"

      Still on a donut sugar high?

    • From the CPC website, "Tim Hortons' choice to make Canada their new base of operations will not only create new jobs and generate economic activity, …"

  8. "This case appears to be Harper's best or only example of what recent corporate tax cuts have achieved. If so, they have not achieved anything worthwhile."

    Who fact checks the fact checkers? Clearly Weir has an agenda/view if he believes letting corps keep more of their money is not worthwhile. How does he think companies pay the united steelworkers their huge salaries/benefits?

    • "Who fact checks the fact checkers? "

      You mean the blogger who works for free? No one I suppose, Why don't you give it a shot?

    • I have never denied having “an agenda/view.” Indeed, the usual purpose of letters to the editor and blog posts is to put forward a position.

      You may legitimately disagree with my position, but that does not mean I have been insufficiently fact-checked.

      Our “huge salaries/benefits” are a tax-deductible cost for companies. Corporate income tax only applies to profit over and above such costs.

      • Having a view is just so ….. unusual …….. and unfair.

  9. That's so unfair! The media has been blogging and facebooking and tweeting their bums off. They can only do so much!

  10. From the Conservatives' own website, this untrue claim:

    "As a direct result of Conservative action to cut corporate taxes, Tim Hortons — perhaps Canada's best known coffee shop — is announcing that they will be moving their head office to Canada. Tim Hortons' choice to make Canada their new base of operations will not only create new jobs and generate economic activity, but it also sends a clear message to other companies around the globe: Canada is a great place to do business."

    It is untrue on several facts: (1) that Tim's has relocated as a "direct result" of Conservative tax cutting, (2) that it will "create new jobs", (3) that it will "generate economic activity" and (4) that it will tell companies that "Canada is a great place to do business".

    This is only a paper change of where their holding company is incorporated. The business operations have always been and continue to be in Oakville. That is why Tim's thinks this is only a "bland corporate announcement".

  11. I'll bet TH were more like gobsmacked when Harper dropped the UN for a photo op at their 'bland corporate announcement'.

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