But back to ketchup. A few weeks ago, an Orillia, Ontario man was grocery shopping when he noticed a few bottles of French’s ketchup on a bottom shelf, squeezed beneath four rows of Heinz ketchup. He thought that was odd, as he didn’t know French’s made ketchup. So he did some research. He later learned that French’s recently began producing ketchup by using a local Leamington, ON farm to source its tomatoes.
He also uncovered that Heinz (a foreign company) had formerly used the same Canadian farm to source its tomatoes. After Heinz terminated their contract, the company sought to source their tomatoes from the United States and 740 people lost their jobs.
For the man in Orillia, Ontario, that was it! Soon after learning about what Heinz was up to, the man took to Facebook and created a simple post titled “Bye. Bye. Heinz”, extolling the virtues and benefits of locally made ketchup. Of course taste was of some importance, but the latter took a back seat to the locally produced angle.
His post went viral. In short order, it was liked 115,000 times! While it was likely not his intention to create a large public outcry, it appears that is indeed what he accomplished through his online activities.
People shared and commented on his post in support of their fellow Canadian’s statement on locally-made products. After all, this is what we seem to be all about in Canada these days (see another article I wrote – pipelines, locally sourced, crafted by local artisans and gluten free).
The outcry was significant. A&W, for example, now exclusively uses French’s Ketchup in all their restaurants in Canada and 700 of the 740 laid off employees are back to work!
…Ok I fixed the filter, and here’s the result: Canadian economic growth projections are slowing, the dollar is weak, jobless rates are increasing, and our economic engine is sputtering. I should clarify; Canada’s economic engine is the oil and gas sector, as I shouldn’t have to specify, but given the recent media attention to the Ontario and Quebec economies, I am not sure everyone knows this.
With over 100,000 jobs lost in Alberta since the collapse of commodity prices and more to come, I long to see the same passion for the most important locally made product in the country! The oil and gas sector accounts for nearly 1.8 million direct and indirect jobs in Canada. $26 billion in revenues have been generated for governments across the country every year from 2009 and 2013. And where, oh where, is the passion to defend this industry?
Approximately 750,000 barrels of foreign oil are purchased and shipped into Canada every day. Of those barrels, 300,000 barrels are brought in via tanker to Canada’s Irving refinery in New Brunswick. Canada has all the oil it needs right here and yet we outsource our market share to countries a world away.
Canada spent almost $100 Billion on foreign oil from 2012-2015 according to Statistics Canada. The oil and gas sector – and consequently, the national economy – is on its heels and the Federal Liberals and Alberta NDP are sticking their proverbial feet out to complete the fall. Why a safe and much needed pipeline (TransCanada’s Energy East) cannot be completed to get Canada’s locally-sourced product to other regions of the country in need of the resource is insane.
Are we interested in creating jobs and prosperity? Maybe the solution to all of this is for a guy in Orillia, ON to write a Facebook post titled “Bye. Bye. Foreign Oil.” After all, the Canadian oil sector is on the metaphorical bottom shelf of the world oil market and is squeezed below rows and rows of foreign oil.
I love the passion this man has created for locally sourced products. I applaud all of the people who have supported him and affected change that ultimately saved jobs and kept commerce within Canada’s borders.
But why was this such an appealing cause to get behind? I doubt any of the Facebook supporters did much of any research into Heinz’s reasoning behind their decision to cancel the contract with the Ontario tomato farmers. I will assume that Canadians just heard that Canadian jobs were being lost and so therefore something was wrong.
Well Canada, thousands of jobs are being lost, billions of dollars are being sent overseas and we will all feel the pain if we don’t take action to back the Canadian oil and gas sector.
When you know the facts, Canada’s oil and gas industry is easy to support. People listen to paid lobbyists who go on and on about Canada producing dirty oil. If Leonardo DiCaprio wants to save the planet from dirty oil production, he could stay in California and tour the 13 oil fields there that generate more emissions per barrel than Canada’s oil sands. (California Energy Commission, 2014).
When you look at Canada’s impact on the global stage you can see that we too would win the “taste test” when it comes to CO2 emissions. Canada represents only 1.58% of the world’s carbon emissions, and the oil sands account for only 0.15% of the global carbon output.
Informed conversation about Canadian oil combined with passionate Canadians supporting a local industry should put Canada on the world stage as a leader in safe, environmentally sustainable oil and gas production.
Canadian hot dogs now have Canadian ketchup on them, right on! Now, how about we fill the Canadian economic engine with Canadian oil and gas.