It’s the latest chapter in Canadian companies playing down their Canadian-ness in Quebec. (Remember when Tim Hortons cups here didn’t have maple leaves on them?)
For this week’s flyer, Canadian Tire produced different versions for Quebec and the rest of the country. This is partly because the flyer is for a week starting June 24, and the flyers in Quebec can’t show Friday specials since stores were closed in Quebec on Friday.
But there’s also that big special on a $10 Canadian flag. It’s not in the Quebec flyer, not even on the back page. And while the bilingual flyer on the left (for Alexandria, Ont.) notes that the specials are for Canada Day, the one on the right doesn’t mention it.
Maybe there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. The Quebec flyer covers both the Fête nationale and the run up to Canada Day, so maybe Canadian Tire didn’t want to be seen favouring one holiday over the other. The inside pages reference both holidays at the top. And you’ll notice the product shots in Quebec have Quebec flags in the background.
Or maybe, like Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire thought it was best to play down Canadian patriotism so it doesn’t piss off the separatists.
Montrealer Ted Duskes, who spotted this, writes:
Talk about pandering. This is the second year in a row that they have pulled a similar “disappearing flag act”.
Are they really “Canadian Tire” or are they planning a name change to go along with the missing “Canadian Tire” that they have removed from their red triangular logo. Maybe the new logo is blue, with a fleur-de-lys, but only for Quebec.
They really know how to annoy a 45 year (formally) loyal customer.
I’ve contacted Canadian Tire to ask for an explanation. Here’s what I got back from Communications Manager Sébastien Bouchard:
Canadian Tire has a long history in Canada, including Quebec, and we are proud to be a true Canadian retailer. Our country spans from sea to sea and, like other retailers, our customer marketing vehicles vary from one region to another. This year, in Québec we decided to use a red background with white maple leafs to create a color theme that clearly reflects the Canada Day long weekend. True to our roots, this year’s flyer was definitely designed to celebrate life in this great country of ours.
In other words, a non-answer.
UPDATE (June 29): Similar situations at other stores.
The difference in the Walmart flyer is pretty striking. I’ve chosen a New Brunswick flyer to show a bilingual one. Note that the NB one squeezes in a reference to Canada Day in both languages, while the Quebec one isn’t even red.
At Loblaws, the reference to Canada Day is smaller in Ontario. But the Quebec one talks about a “four-day sale” covering Canada Day, and mentions how stores will be open July 1, all without using the word “Canada”.
Future Shop takes a slightly different route, focusing on the fact that July 1 is Moving Day in Quebec and people who move tend to buy new things. Though francophone Canadians outside Quebec might be a bit confused, since they get the same page, as far as I can tell.