North Island-Powell River MP and NDP Critic for Veterans Affair Rachel Blaney received unanimous support for her motion condemning grocery retailer Whole Foods for its ban on employees wearing poppies on their uniform.
The company, however, later reversed its policy and allows its staff to now wear poppies.
Blaney rose on a point of order Nov. 6 to ask for unanimous consent to introduce a motion stating: “That this House condemn Whole Foods and its owner Jeff Bezos for banning its employees from wearing poppies on their uniform and demand that the policy be reversed immediately.”
The grocery chain, a subsidiary of Amazon (owned by American multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos), sparked outrage when it was revealed that wearing a poppy in honour of Remembrance Day violated the company’s uniform policy and would not be allowed at any of the retail locations including 14 in Canada.
But later on Friday, the company issued a statement saying, “Our new unified dress code policy is intended to create consistency and ensure operation safety across all of our stores. 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. 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 hnour of Remembrance Day. As was previously planned, we will also be observing a moment of silenc eon November 11, as well as making a monetary donation to the Legion Poppy Fund. “
Before Whole Foods reversed its positon, Blaney said of the earlier poppy pin ban, “This is disheartening and disrespectful – to the employees, to veterans and their families, and to all Canadians.”
Blaney later tweeted out her acknowledgement of the change of heart:
— Rachel Blaney (@RABlaney) November 6, 2020
All members participating in the hybrid sitting of the House of Commons granted unanimous consent to hear the motion and subsequently passed it unanimously as well.
“Especially this year when mass public gatherings for Remembrance Day will not occur, everyone should be allowed to wear a poppy for Remembrance Week,” said Blaney. “Thanking those who sacrificed for the freedoms our country stands for isn’t controversial or political. The support from all parties for this motion is evidence of that.”
This story has been updated at 2:55 p.m. Nov. 6 to acknowledge Whole Foods change of position.