Foodservice company banishes Canadian flag: savvy PR move or recipe for disaster?

As Canada Day approaches, food giant 'Recipe Unlimited Corporation' has replaced its large Canadian flag with a Pride flag.

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Should you ever drive north of the 407 ETR on Hwy. 400 commuting from Toronto to Vaughan, it’s hard not to notice the huge flagpole that is on the property of foodservice colossus, 'Recipe Unlimited Corporation.' Typically, an enormous Canadian flag flies from this towering flagpole, but for a few weeks now, the Maple Leaf has been AWOL.

Currently replacing the Canadian flag is a giant Pride flag. And yes, it’s that whiz-bang new-and-improved Progress Pride flag, the one that features a multicoloured triangle inserted upon the traditional red/orange/yellow/green/blue/purple rainbow flag. The triangle is coloured white, pink, baby blue, brown, and black, which apparently represents transgendered folk, people of colour, and spirit unicorns or something.

Of note, Recipe is a corporation that owns several major Canadian restaurant chains, ranging from Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet to St. Hubert and East Side Mario’s. And granted, Recipe is free to pretty much fly any flag on its flagpole. But given that Dominion Day (a.k.a., Canada Day) is just a few days away, it seems somewhat galling that the Maple Leaf is now occupying the broom closet at Recipe HQ. And hey, if the company wants to acknowledge Pride Month, fair enough – but why can’t the Pride flag and the Canadian flag be displayed at the same time? We noticed other companies close by Recipe doing precisely that.

In any event, we reached out to Nicolette Garito. She is Recipe’s public relations specialist. We emailed her some queries about the reason for the disappearance of the Canadian flag. Such as:

1. Why has the Canadian flag been removed, especially given we are only days away from July 1?

2. We have recently covered stories in which certain entities (i.e., Kawartha Dairy, Sunderland School) have deemed the Canadian flag to be offensive to certain people. Is this why the Canadian flag was removed?

3. If indeed Recipe Unlimited deems that the Canadian flag is offensive, how exactly is the Maple Leaf allegedly offensive to those who comprise the Canadian LGBT+ community?

Alas, Garito is one of those communications gurus who cannot or will not communicate (we don’t get it either). We also phoned her but were told that this public relations specialist does not have a telephone extension even though she really wants one. We’re not making this up. We also personally visited Recipe’s Vaughan headquarters, but neither Ms. Garito nor anyone else with the company would come on camera for an interview or even provide an official reason why the Maple Leaf is flag-non-grata at Recipe these days.

And so it is we have a Canadian foodservice company that has hundreds of restaurants across Canada that sell millions of meals to Canadians…but is now seemingly embarrassed to fly the Canadian flag? Or does Recipe believe that the Maple Leaf is perhaps triggering to certain members of the LGBTQ+++++ And Sometimes Y community?

Is this truly savvy public relations? Or is it a recipe for disaster for those who respect our great Dominion – and its flag?

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