Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"That'll be $12.5 billion; please prepare your cash and advance to the window"


   There's a curious juxtaposition of nationalist wrath in the aftermath of American fast food giant Burger King's announcement that it's buying Tim Hortons.  The overwhelming outcry is from the U.S., where politicians and the public alike are suspicious that Burger King's main motivation for the merger is to transfer its base of operations to Canada to take advantage of lower corporate tax rates.  The move comes within weeks of President Obama threatening to close loopholes on corporate tax avoidance, and the U.S. media is rife with outrage from American taxpayers who swear they've eaten their last Whopper. 
   Meanwhile, barely a whimper has registered on this side of the border over one of our most iconic national brands being gobbled up by U.S. interests.  Beyond the obvious tax revenue benefits for Canada, the absence of angst could a welcome signal that Canadians are finally over our longstanding inferiority complex vis-a-vis our transcendent neighbors, and knee-jerk resentment is no longer the default mode whenever we get trampled by America's giant cultural and economic footprint.  This is also not the first time Tim Horton's has been bought by an American fast food juggernaut. Wendy's owned Tim's from 1995 to 2006 and the brand perception was no less Canadian, so any belated bellyaching over U.S. interlopers in 2014 would ring hollow. 
   
   I can only speak for myself, but a multi-billion dollar corporate merger is so far outside my daily reality that it just doesn't resonate, and as long my morning coffee doesn't suddenly start tasting like onion rings, ownership of the company that brews it is of little or no consequence. 

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