Tim Horton’s is Canada’s Tea Party

There’s been considerable discussion over the last month about the potential emergence of the Tea Party in Canada. Yet in the absence of a widely endorsed legislative entity, I think we’re missing the most obvious alternative. Let’s grind up support for a Tim Hortons Party of Canada, our very own Coffee Party.

The Tim Hortons phenomenon has been studied by sociologists, mimicked by competition and embraced by Canadian culture. The apostrophe-free name accommodates Quebec language laws, and is repeatedly applauded as one of the best brands in the country. Without a doubt it unites us as Canadians.

The Tim Hortons identity gives it more leadership leverage than any political party. If social engagement is any indication of the Tim culture, take a look at Facebook. The Government of Canada page has 203 fans. Add Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois pages together and you get a total of 15,000. Tim Hortons: 1.1 million. (Most of them in this morning’s lineup.)

In September 2009, Timmy left a short-term relationship with American-owned Wendy’s to return to Canada as a stand-alone public company. This move, of course, appeals to Canadian Liberals, who like their leadership spending time in the US first.

Beyond the obvious connection to Canada’s favourite sport of hockey, their corporate head office is in Oakville, Ont. If ever there were a place to signify the oft spoken “I am not American” personality trait of the average Canuck, it is in the city founded by entrepreneur William Chisholm, a lieutenant in the war of 1812.

Further to political strengths, Hortons is all about economic stability. An investment of $35,000 in Canada Savings Bonds two years ago would have earned you $1,289 interest. Tim Hortons shares, however, would have put an additional $20,000 in your pocket! In 2009, when companies were falling off the map like sprinkles from a vanilla dip donut, Hortons still experienced healthy growth of 9 per cent.

We can also count on it being here for the long term. Next spring is the 25th anniversary of the “Roll up the Rim to Win” contest. During that time we’ve had seven elections, the Conservatives have renamed themselves three times, and Preston Manning still can’t roll his Rs.

Tim Hortons is also a leader in immigrant employment, and what other entity holds the adoration of ambassadors such as Sid Crosby and Justin Bieber? It knows how to support our troops, and its presence is everywhere. It is also the recipient of waste minimization awards, and University of Manitoba microbiologists Richard Sparling and David Levin are turning discarded Tim Hortons cups into biofuel, generating as much as 1.3 litres of ethanol from 100 cups.

Research says 59 per cent of Canadians drink coffee, and Tim’s has 76 per cent of the Canadian coffee market. This means that potentially 45 per cent of Canadians visit Tim Hortons for their caffeine fix. If we place our polling stations at the local Tim Hortons, watch voter turnout soar!

Tim Hortons is grass roots community at its best. It is where acquaintances are made and business deals are played. It is where you can run into your dentist, pharmacist, aunt, and the occasional RCMP. It’s where employment interviews are held, new friendships are forged, and old friends reunited. It is the stuff of life, the essence of community, the simplicity of commonality wrapped up in a sustainable cardboard cup. We need to acknowledge what it has been for years — the real natural ruling party of Canada. Let’s update the Canadian flag to a doughnut.

St. Albert Gazette | Oct 13, 2010 06:00 am | Dee-Ann Schwanke

For more of Dee-Ann Schwanke’s thoughts on this and other subjects, visit deesonly.com.

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