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B.C. premier tells Whole Foods to ‘give your heads a shake’ over staff banned from wearing poppies

Click to play video 'Whole Foods bans Canadian employees from wearing poppies' Whole Foods bans Canadian employees from wearing poppies
Whole Foods has now backed down on its controversial policy banning Canadian employees from wearing the poppy. But even the prime miniser was weighing in on the subject Friday. Nadia Stewart reports. – Nov 6, 2020

B.C. Premier John Horgan is criticizing Whole Foods for its controversial policy that originally banned Canadian employees from wearing a poppy while working.

In a tweet, Horgan expressed his frustration over the policy.

“C’mon @WholeFoods. Wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day and Aboriginal Veterans Day is about honouring people who have given so much in service to others. Give your heads a shake. #LestWeForget,” Horgan wrote.

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The U.S. based grocer has now backed down on its controversial policy of restricting changes to the standard uniform, including wearing the sign of remembrance and respect for fallen soldiers.

“Our intention was never to single out the poppy or to suggest a lack of support for Remembrance Day and the heroes who have bravely served their country,” a statement from the company reads.

“We appreciate the thoughtful feedback we have received from our customers. Given the learnings of today, we are welcoming Team Members to wear the poppy pin in honour of Remembrance Day. As was previously planned, we will also be observing a moment of silence on November 11, as well as making a monetary donation to the Legion Poppy Fund.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on Friday, saying the company had made a “silly mistake that I hope they will correct quickly,” and that Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay was expressing that directly to them to try to get the policy changed.

“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 said following Whole Foods changing the policy.

 

Click to play video 'Whole Foods bans employees from wearing poppies' Whole Foods bans employees from wearing poppies
Whole Foods bans employees from wearing poppies – Nov 6, 2020

Whole Foods does have some local ties. Not only do they have stores in British Columbia, but they also bought up a series of smaller chains that included Capers. The co-founder of Capers Russell Precious said he couldn’t believe it when he saw the news about the poppy ban.

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“I thought they were competing with the election coverage in the U.S. around how absurd one can be,” Precious said.

“Decisions are often made thousands of miles away in windowless buildings without [an] understanding of what is happening locally. And that is what has happened with Whole Foods, unfortunately.”

-Files from Amanda Connolly

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