The donut speech

by Aaron Wherry

Susan Delacourt is taking a day off her duties at the Star each week to pursue a study of politics and consumerism. Suffice it to say then, she was tremendously pleased with the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday.

So while I guess while others may feel a bit squeamish about our PM ordering double-doubles and dipped donuts   while the world, literally, moved on without him, I, for one, am grateful. The leader of our country has chosen to re-announce a three-month-old decision by a donut company instead of taking part in a conversation at the United Nations. In so doing, he’s given me a whole bunch of fodder for research about how politicians see us now as shoppers/eaters now instead of educated citizens. Thanks, PM.




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The donut speech

  1. I find this Liberal outrage a little bit odd. While the PM may not have walked out of the UN in person, the government was making headlines around the world for staging this "snubbing". The man can apparently walk and chew gum at the same time, what's wrong with that?

    • He can't both do that and lick Obama's boots at the same time. The horror…

    • Technically it was journalist outrage, but I can see why you'd confuse the two.

      Never mind that instead of "moving on without him", the free world actually gives Harper the lion's share of the credit for orchestrating the Ahmadinejad boycott. But why let a few facts get in the way of a good rant.

      • "Technically it was journalist outrage"

        What outrage are you referring to?

        • Well, we have a journalist complaining that our PM would rather "order double-doubles and dipped donuts while the world, literally, moved on without him." You're right. Perhaps "thinly veiled disgust" would be a more accurate term.

        • Well, we have a journalist complaining that our PM would rather "order double-doubles and dipped donuts while the world, literally, moved on without him. You're right. Perhaps "thinly veiled disgust" would be a more accurate term.

      • Actually, the world press mentions Canada. Canadian press gives Canada a lot of credit, but pretty much every other outlet mentions Canada as one of the delegations that walked out. (Except Fox News, but they really just try and use it as a way to criticize Obama.)

        As for the "free world" giving Harper the "lion's share" of the credit, I had no idea that the Blogging Tories and National Post were what constitute the free world.

      • So the apparent 'free world' press actually gives Harper praise for his actions. Presumably the free world's press consists of journalists, notwithstanding your (and others) assertion that confusing "Liberals" with "journalists" is completely understandable?
        Even if tt may fit the Conservative talking points, tell me, at which point do the Harper sycophants allow reality and their imagined alignment of the world become so disjointed that their heads explode?

    • While the PM may not have walked out of the UN in person, the government was making headlines around the world for staging this "snubbing".

      No it wasn't. Most of the reports from outside of the country failed to even mention Canada. Even the few that did only did so as an afterthought. Last paragraph from an Australian source.

      Israel had called for a boycott of the speech, and was not present when the Iranian leader spoke. Canada heeded the boycott call, while delegations from Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand and the United States also left the room as Mr Ahmadinejad began to rail against Israel, a European source said.

      Good gawd, what alternative universe do you people live in.

    • While the PM may not have walked out of the UN in person, the government was making headlines around the world for staging this "snubbing".

      No it wasn't. Most of the reports from outside of the country failed to even mention Canada. Even the few that did only did so as an afterthought. Last paragraph from an Australian source.

      Israel had called for a boycott of the speech, and was not present when the Iranian leader spoke. Canada heeded the boycott call, while delegations from Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand and the United States also left the room as Mr Ahmadinejad began to rail against Israel, a European source said.

      Good gawd, what alternative universe do you people live in.

      • I think you have to realize perspective here….much in the same way that the world view maps used in good ol' Australia have the Australian continent front and center.

    • "While the PM may not have walked out of the UN in person, the government was making headlines around the world for staging this "snubbing".

      I've seen this talking point three times already today.

      Conservative bulk email?

      • Probably. Robert McC above is absolutely right – very few mentioned it, and those that did buried it in the story.

    • The Liberals are outraged because it is contrary to what the Liberals and the MSM have tried to portray Harper as – a control freak who has to be front and centre with everything his government does. But this storyline doesn't jive with that (since Harper was very comfortable turning the reins over to others) so I guess the Liberals must be lying again – surprised anyone?

  2. How the average Canadian must be so dissappointed that we were not at the UN classroom, being taught the appropriate lessons, in international progressivism by the likes of Iran, Sudan, Cuba, the ever progressive Chinese and Russians,

    rather than promoting business in Canada , and a Canadian success story (in a tough recessionary time).

    Yes, yes, it's Harper that's out of touch. Of course.

    • It was a photo op – an absolute waste of the Prime Minister's time.

    • There were two events at the UN this week.

      Ahmadinejad's speech for which Canon walked into the UN chamber so that he could walk out. A good move.

      Obama's speech and the climate change discussions, for which, in the former's case, Harper was too busy re-announcing a 3 month old event and, in the latter's case, Harper was too busy talking to the mayor of NY.

      Leadership!!

      • And which one will Canadians (and Americans) remember?
        PMSH sitting in an audience for Obama's first speech as Prez,
        or PMSH leading the way on an international walk out of dinnerjackets speech…..

        • you know, you keep saying that Harper "led the way", but that doesn't make it true.

          Israel called for a boycott, only Canada took them up on it. THEN when the speech turned up the anti-Israeli rhetoric did the other nations walk out.

          Apparently the phrase "hear them out" is foreign to Conservatives?

  3. "see us now as shoppers/eaters now instead of educated citizens"

    That's one to view it, I guess, but others might think the PM is focused on wealth/job creation which is much better than PM spending a few days in NY listening to countless speeches on how the world is going to end if no climate accord is agreed upon.

    I am amazed at the snooty attitude that many have exhibited about Tim's and their innovation centre.

  4. Yeah, looks like Canadians are fed up with Harper and the Conservatives.

    http://www.ekospolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/07

    Or maybe they are fed up with the Liberals desperation to find anything and everything to express exaggerated outrage over.

    An entire party of Chicken Littles.

    The sky is constantly falling.

  5. Why does Susan Delacourt presume to speak on behalf of other Canadians?

    • What part of "Iguess", "I, for one, am grateful" and "he's given me" was an attempt to speak on behalf of other Canadians, Dennis?

  6. Has anyone actually explained how what appears to have been a paperwork transfer will actually lead to more jobs in Canada? At least we get a bit more tax revenue now — any idea how much?

    • all depends on earnings Kady. And yes, there should be more jobs, at least all those that work in their he

      • But the headquarters only moved on paper, right? It never left Oakville, as far as I can tell. berried, bien sur. From: IntenseDebate Notifications

        • That, and the fact that a good number of the Tim Horton's outlets are franchises – so they would have paid taxes in Canada irrespective of where the parent company was headquartered.

          • From the Consolidated financial statements: "As of June 28th, 2009, 99.5% of the Company's restaurants
            in Canada and 99.1% of its U.S. restaurants were franchised."

            Also, it looks like they pay an effective tax rate of around 33% on operating income of about $500 million per year, so – at best maybe $160 million in additional Canadian taxes. Perhaps an accountant would have a better handle if I'm overstating the impact.

            http://www.timhortons.com/ca/pdf/Q2_2009_Earnings

        • Headquarters didn't even move on paper, Kady. Headquarters has and will remain in Oakville. See my comment below. The publicly traded shell holding company at the top was located in Delaware. Now it will be a Canadian corporation. None of the securities work will move either – Tim's will continue to make the big NY corporate law firms and investment banks lots of money.

      • I doubt it.

    • Here's one for ITQ's legendary creativity. What is the Tim Horton's equivalent metaphor for "wrapping yourself in the flag"?

      Dousing yourself with a double-double?

    • Here's one for ITQ's legendary creativity and tag-writing skills. What is the Tim Horton's equivalent metaphor for "wrapping yourself in the flag"?

      Dousing yourself with a double-double?

      • Fueling the nation a large double-double at a time

    • Tim's was always managed from Oakville even when it was owned by Wendy's. So operationally there is nothing different about this move. Tim's the operating company is owned by the publicly traded Tim's the holding company.

      Tim's is doing a little reorganization so that the publicly traded Delaware holding company will now be a Canadian corporation. It will continue to be listed on the same exchanges it is currently listed.

      No more jobs will be created in Canada because of this, though some Canadian corporate lawyers (or more accurately corporate law clerks) may have a few more hours of billable time doing Canadian corporate filings required for a Canadian corporation.

    • Well, I assume someone has to fill out that paperwork, so there's that…

    • Negative view = no jobs.

      Positive view = Canada: The Cayman Islands for Cholesterol and Caffeine!

    • Good question…..the official home drives where the head office taxes are paid, not all taxes just those related to that.

      There is less need to file certain papers and reports, whether that expertise was domicled in Oakwille or soemwhere else who knows.

      But fair question because that is the proof point to the PM's assertion. The concerns about the PM being at the UN or not miss the point entirely. And if we go into the world of symbolism, which many appear to want to do, then I would say the symbol of Liberal MP's standing outside a Canadian Icon holding UN flags is unlikely to resonate with the market they are trying to reach, symbollically speaking.

      But again, Kady, your question is bang on since it either demonstartes the PM's point or shows it as fluff (which would then raise the where was it more important to be question)

      • It was fluff. And the PM could have chosen to do both: speak about climate change and show leadership, and have his photo opportunity with donuts. Nothing stopped him from doing both. He chose a photo opportunity.

        • Could be….but some would argue that making a speech at the UN is fluff….and which one may mean to people who would potentially vote for you.

          Not trying to denigrate the UN, but honestly, criticizing harper for not sitting and listening to Ghaddaffi or make a speech to a half empty chamber really doesnt win any votes, thats what Foreign Ministers and Amabassadors are for. Iggy finally got it right today, effective photo opp and domestic message, lest see if he can string together two in a row.

    • It wouldn't surprise me in the least to discover this makes consolidating profits to the South easier.

  7. Is it so strange that politicians would abandon the intellectual discourse that should be the cornerstone of political stewardship and head right to the blue light special in aisle six? If you can just get them to "buy" your party into majority power, then you are pretty well free to put up the Mega Sale!! Clearance!! signs that keep the shoppers happy while the cart gets filled up with other stuff.
    Like it or not, if you can lure that great block of apathetic non-voters into the booth to join in on the Sale-a-bration!!, then you are free to steer the cart where it suits your party.
    The psychology of Madison Avenue created a nation of consumers. Imagine using thoses same tactics to ensnare a nation of voters.

  8. Is it so strange that politicians would abandon the intellectual discourse that should be the cornerstone of political stewardship and head right to the blue light special in aisle six? If you can just get them to "shop" your party into majority power, then you are pretty well free to put up the Mega Sale!! Clearance!! signs that keep the shoppers happy while the cart gets filled up with other stuff.
    Like it or not, if you can lure that great block of apathetic non-voters into the booth to join in on the Sale-a-bration!!, then you are free to steer the cart where it suits your party.
    The psychology of Madison Avenue created a nation of consumers. Imagine using thoses same tactics to ensnare a nation of voters. Brilliant! and scary

  9. Is it so strange that politicians would abandon the intellectual discourse that should be the cornerstone of political stewardship and head right to the blue light special in aisle six? If you can just get them to "shop" your party into power, then you are pretty well free to put up the Mega Sale!! Clearance!! signs that keep the shoppers happy while the cart gets filled up with other stuff.
    Like it or not, if you can lure that great block of apathetic non-voters into the booth to join in on the Sale-a-bration!!, then you are free to steer the cart where it suits your party.
    The psychology of Madison Avenue created a nation of consumers. Imagine using thoses same tactics to ensnare a nation of voters. Brilliant! and scary

  10. Don't try to tell me the PMO couldn't have done the Tim Horton's event ANY TIME they wanted. They wanted to be seen as picking Tim's over the UN.

    • Anyone who had proudly lived in Canada the last 34 years would have done the same.
      Cue anthem…. unfurl the flag….. hoist a cup of Timmies while thoughfully gazing at youngsters playing shinny…

  11. whoops, there shold be more jobs, at least those that work in their head office.

  12. Harper is displaying sheer contempt for Canadians again. Already, we can see that his natural constituency is hailing a few bits of political theatre that are as dramatic as they are simple-minded and trivial to hail as achievements while substantive, complex issues are sidelined.

    • Again, why is it that some of you pretend to speak on behalf of other Canadians? Who appointed you for the job? Geez.

      • So no one is allowed their own opinion unless they agree, Dennis?

      • I think my Irony Meter just broke!

    • Once again, insult people who vote Conservative – that's a way to convince people that your views are better.

  13. I cannot understand this faux outrage by some journalists over the Prime Minister's decision not to attend a bunch of speeches at the UN. Does anybody truly believe that President Obama and other leaders were sitting in their countries' seats listening to other speeches? The truth is that it is usually some fuctionary who is sent to sit in the seat. The PM has no more need to sit in the Canadian chair at the UN while Moammar Gadhafi rants for over an hour than to sit all day in the House of Commons when he has work to do.

  14. I cannot understand this faux outrage by some journalists over the Prime Minister's decision not to attend a bunch of speeches at the UN. Does anybody truly believe that President Obama and other leaders were sitting in their countries' seats listening to other speeches? The truth is that it is usually some fuctionary who is sent to sit in the seat. The PM has no more need to sit in the Canadian chair at the UN while Moammar Gadhafi rants for over an hour than to sit al day in the House of Commons when he has work to do.

  15. I cannot understand this faux outrage by some journalists over the Prime Minister's decision not to attend a bunch of speeches at the UN. Does anybody truly believe that President Obama and other leaders were sitting in their countries' seats listening to other speeches? The truth is that it is usually some functionary who is sent to sit in the seat. The PM has no more need to sit in the Canadian chair at the UN while Moammar Gadhafi rants for over an hour than to sit all day in the House of Commons when he has work to do.

    • I think the point Susan is making is that this is not a singular event, but part of a larger trend – a point of view being adopted by all the parties

    • I think the point Susan is making is that this is not a singular event, but part of a larger trend – a strategy being adopted by all the parties

    • For the record, the outrage is not limited to journalists. And it's not just because Harper didn't attend the speeches or the conference in general, it's because he skipped things first to talk about skiing to the mayor of New York, then to hang out at Tim Hortons and talk about hockey.

      This is the freakin' UN, not a high school assembly!

  16. What I don't get is how does Harper missing one speech by Obama equate with him thinking Canadians are stupid?

    Harper has met with Obama like 8 times, spoken at the UNAG twice I think… and had his Foreign minister there yesterday. He also is meeting with the G20 and recently met with congress officials, the mayor of New York, and is meeting today with the leader of pakistan.

    So because he misses ONE speech, the whole world has moved on without Canada? Seriously I don't understand the outrage.

    People saying things like "Sheer contempt" and Canadians as shoppers/eaters? Please…. I'm educated, have voted for three different parties in my short lifetime, and I don't feel like I'm being treated poorly because Harper visited a Tim Hortons.

    • What I don't get is how does Harper missing one speech by Obama equate with him thinking Canadians are stupid

      It's not missing it that shows his contempt. It is missing it in order to announce something that happened a while ago that he could have announced on any other day.

      • And you believe that sitting in the UN listening to a hour and a half rant by Moammar Gadhafi is a better use of our prime minister's time? That's your right to believe that. I'd rather my prime minister was spending his/her time working to improve the Canadian economy. We pay diplomats to listen to speeches. That's their job, not the prime minister's.

        • First, who's talking about Gadhafi or even sitting in listening to other leaders. I'm talking about leadership and showing up and GIVING the speeches that the world will listen to, like Obama did.

          Second, how is a press conference announcing something that occurred a few months ago and is not going to create any jobs "spending his/her time working to improve the Canadian economy"??? This was a photo op for his reelection campaign, that is all.

          • Canada will be giving a speech (as usual). It will given by Foreign Minister Cannon. The Prime Minister will not giving it as he will be attending the G-20 with President Obama and other world leaders.

          • Obama and other true world leaders are managing to do both TY.

            Harper could have held his photo op with donuts next week or at any time, but chose not to.

    • Of course, but if you took all the faux outrage (from all sides) away from these comments, there'd only be two or three left.

      And then what would I do to waste my time? Watch Fox news, I suppose…

  17. This seemed like a personal and political endorsement of Tim Horton's as the "Official Coffee and Donut of Canada," and I thought the whole event was *highly* suspect and inappropriate. How would you feel if you were the owner of any of the other large Canadian coffee and dounut chains, or the owner of one of their franchises? I bet they won't be voting Conservative next time!

  18. There were two events at the UN this week.

    Ahmadinejad's speech for which Canon walked into the UN chamber so that he could walk out. A good move.

    Obama's speech and the climate change discussions, for which, in the former's case, Harper was too busy re-announcing a 3 month old event and, in the latter's case, Harper was too busy talking to the mayor of NY.

    Leadership!!

    • It is kinda ironic that we're sitting here discussing Timmys while the real story is half a million Canadians have lost their jobs since October and more will probably join them – not to mention flagship companies either failing or leaving. I don't blame Harper for changing the channel, but do we have act like a bunch of sheep when the PMO or the media goes baaaa!

  19. I think there's a hole in Delacourt's donut argument: had Harper done something different, would the world have paid any more attention to him? Unlikely. And in any case, why should Canadians give a flying leap how many headlines our PM gets in the European press?

  20. Tim Horton's and now the Hudson Bay Company moving back to Canada.
    IMO PMSH was just pointing out in a big way, that this Conservative Govt (including the HST) has made all the right moves to attract business back to Canada.

    • Except that, these companies never left Canada. And so they aren't "coming back".

      That's the lie and misinformation coming from the Prime Minister.

    • What the heck is PMSH? Is it something similar to what my beloved wife undergoes once a month (when I take the kids away for a few days)?

    • HBC & THs coming in – Nortel, inco and company going out. You gottta watch the hand, it's faster than the eye.

  21. It's been almost four long years of that, I'm afraid.

  22. Well, if Susan Delacourt thinks it would be more useful to sit and listen to the Little Az fron Iran then she should find out what his schedule is and follow him around for a few months, then report back to us—–oh, and maybe she could let us know how the Iranian protestors feel about listening to him and also how the Israeli people in his gunsights are sleeping at night—-oh and how is making out building that new bomb

  23. Exactly when did a collective love for Tim Horton's stop being an adorable tongue-in-cheek national quirk and start being the symbolic equivalent of the PPCLI battling the Taliban or our guys sweeping through the World Juniors? Seriously, coffee and doughnuts? That's our rallying point? That's our totem? Seriously?

    (Incidentally, I believe Mr. Wherry has committed a rare [for him] spelling crime against our fervently nationalistic lexicon. Unless it was an intentional comment on the base Americanisation of our baked dough culture.)

  24. "see us now as shoppers/eaters now instead of educated citizens"

    That's one to view it, I guess, but others might think the PM is focused on wealth/job creation which is much better than PM spending a few days in NY listening to countless speeches on nothing in particular except that The West is evil.

    I am amazed at the snooty attitude that many have exhibited about Tim's and their innovation centre.

    • And who's wealth creation are you talking about? Certainly not those former degree holders from far-away nations who are asking if we want plain or glazed with our double-double for minimum wage, are you? While Tim Hortons may be a success story of some Canadian magnitude, let's not imagine that this is anything but a fastfood joint, what should be a part-time stepping stone for future university grads and part-time social filler for seniors needing extra money in a cash-strapped world. Sadly, too many of the people working for TiHo's $8-12 an hour need it to live.

    • Except he was there Jolyon and chose to have a lunch with the mayor instead.

      The Tim's announcement did nothing to create wealth or jobs and could have been conducted at any other time.

      So by his actions, Harper is making a clear statement about how much he cares about the environment.

      • By his action? You consider attendance at a speech to constitute action on the environment, do you? No wonder nothing ever gets done. People seem to care more speech attendance and treaty signing than actual solutions.

        • No moron.

          Get it in your head. It is not sitting there listening to others we are talking about.

          It is his choice, his action, to choose to say nothing about the environment at this major global conference at the UN, where Obama and others have. Instead, he re-announces old news that is no big deal and tries to take credit for it and makes false claims about it (like job creation). Says a lot.

  25. Is it so strange that politicians would abandon the intellectual discourse that should be the cornerstone of political stewardship and head right to the blue light special in aisle six? If you can just get them to "shop" your party into power, then you are pretty well free to put up the Mega Sale!! Clearance!! signs that keep the shoppers happy while the cart gets filled up with other stuff.
    Like it or not, if you can lure that great block of apathetic non-voters into the booth to join in on the Sale-a-bration!!, then you are free to steer the cart where it suits your party.
    The psychology of Madison Avenue created a nation of consumers. Imagine using those same tactics to ensnare a nation of voters. Brilliant! and scary

    • In other words, you think voters are gullible and stupid.

      • Kinda like those who signed up for mortagages in the States and then scratched their heads as they lost their houses.
        Of course, not everyone was like that, but there were enough of them to create a pyramid of bad debt that our financial stewards drove onto the rocks of Cape Greed, leaving us holding a bag of crap that will still reek two generations from now.

    • Are you equating the UN with intellectual discourse? Because if you are, please spare us any more of what you consider intellectual discourse. The UN is a morally, corrupt organization run by thugs and dictators (see its Human Rights arm); the UN is a bloated bureaucracy that spends like a drunkard sailor (and I don't mean to insult sailors – drunk or not) and wouldn't know a result if it hit them in the face. UN Peacekeepers, while a noble idea, is a useless concept that needs to be abandoned. The sooner the UN disappears, the sooner the world can start building an organization that has a defined and narrow purpose and that might actually be a forum for intellectual discourse.

  26. Well, free coffee and doughnuts might be a rallying poin for some folkt, seriously.

    But trying to turn old news into more fodder for mass consumption is not impressive.

    And darn Harper, I may have to boycott the local TH shop because I don't want to have a vision of him standing behind the counter. GRR.

    • …vision of him standing behind the counter..

      A career more suited to his talents than his current one, perhaps?

    • A visual that could haunt you. Tim Hortons does not make any money from me, Not even when we have to roll that rim.

      • Visuals. A few years back there was a Tim's in ( I think ) North Sydney that developed
        an image of Christ ( or maybe herself The Virgin ) on the side of the building.

        In certain lighting and at certain times of the day. People came from miles around.

        Then the fine ladies of 22 Minutes did a riff on it and it all went away. Newfies hate
        Cape Bretoners. Or maybe it's the other way around.

  27. Exactly when did a collective love for Tim Horton's stop being an adorable tongue-in-cheek national quirk and start being the symbolic equivalent of the PPCLI battling the Taliban or our guys sweeping through the World Juniors? Seriously, coffee and doughnuts? That's our rallying point? That's our totem? Seriously?

    (Incidentally, I believe Ms. Delacourt has committed a rare spelling crime against our fervently nationalistic lexicon. Unless it was an intentional comment on the base Americanisation of our baked dough culture. Fortunately Mr. Wherry highlights it, shaming her, in the title of this post.)

    • I'm risking a flame war here but…Tims isn't what it used to be – at least not out west. In the last few years they've abandoned fresh baked doughnuts for a frozen atrocity. The quality has sadly declined. I say sadly cus i like my Tims fix as much as the next guy – well i did. Since i'm now i'm a TH's apostate i'll add for good measure that the only good thing about their coffee is it's still cheap. As for the symbolism, maybe it's become a little bit like the pub in Britain – the last bastion of class solidarity – whatever that means.

      • Man, that's sad to hear. Frozen doughnuts? The two locations near me still bake their own, but I'm not all that surprised to hear this: with so many locations, a decline in quality had to happen sooner or later.

        I have the impression the coffee used to be better than it currently is, i.e. richer. I actually find the new McDonald's coffee rather better, while Tim's coffee seems to me to be getting McDonaldised. Again this perhaps depends on location. Final peeve: the coffee is always insanely hot, so that one has to lift the lid and wait for a few minutes before drinking it. Not very convenient when one is rushing, insofar as a zombie can rush, to a meeting and desperate for a fix.

  28. All this kerfluffle is a cover for something else that is going down.
    A distraction, so to speak.
    Because that too is *politics*

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