The Whole Foods Market grocery chain has told Canadian media that a symbol worn to remember the fallen ahead of Remembrance Day doesn’t comply with its dress code rules.
The move has sparked outrage in Canada, with politicians branding the decision “disgusting.”
US-based Whole Foods Market has been branded “disgusting” and accused of “trying to be woke” after media reported that the grocery chain’s staff in Canada can’t wear a red poppy, as it is said to violate the dress code rules.
Poppies are traditionally worn in the UK, as well as in Canada and other Commonwealth countries, to honor members of the armed forces who have died in wars. However, the gesture has become increasingly politicized in recent years.
The case was brought up after Canadian media reported on a Whole Foods staffer’s complaint.
When asked for an explanation, the company did confirm to the local CBC news outlet that a poppy does not comply with the dress code policy, but it didn’t provide any further details.
The news prompted a fierce backlash online, including from Doug Ford, the premier of the government of Ontario.
“It’s disgusting and disgraceful that Whole Foods has banned poppies for their employees,” he said.
It’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 #lestweforget.
“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,”said Canada’s leader of the opposition, Erin O’Toole.
Other high-profile critics of the poppy ban included Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Bob Rae, who labelled the move “outrageous.”
Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, also weighed in, saying: “It was wrong when they banned staff expressing support for Black Lives Matter and it’s wrong to ban the Poppy.”
It was wrong when they banned staff expressing support for Black Lives Matter and it’s wrong to ban the Poppy. Canadians shouldn’t lose the right to honour the sacrifices of veterans when they go to work.https://t.co/3hEfXgASwS
Whole Foods is reportedly donating $8,000 to the Royal Canadian Legion, an organization that supports veterans. The company also told the media that its staffers would still hold the traditional minute’s silence on November 11.
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