God Save the King!
Those are my sentiments today upon learning that U.S.-based Burger King, Inc. will buy Canadian donut slinger Tim Horton’s, a move that is charitably being called a “merger,” and then subsequently relocate the articles of incorporation to Canada. This move concerns me, especially given that the Right Wing media is establishing this as the new Boston Tea Party, a revolt against “higher taxes.”
At first, I had a knee-jerk reaction. I was pissed that an American company would flee the kingdom over a perceived higher tax rate in the United States. Then, as I was finding an image to attach to this post, I had a thought: will Burger King really save money on taxes? Or is there, perhaps, another reason behind this relocation? So I took a break from finding the really cool Arcas painting of the Boston Tea Party and read a couple of stories. Come to find out, the Right Wing media gets it wrong, again.
Burger King is buying a much larger chain. The Canadian holdings amount to a significant portion of the new company. Remember, most of those Burger Kings in America are franchisees. That’s not necessarily the case with Tim Horton’s. So Burger King is relocating its corporate structure to the place with the largest set of assets. Surely this isn’t something for which they should be faulted. If I bought a large quantity of something in Canada, I’d want to move there, too.
At the same time, Burger King is making this move for another reason: the American company might not be allowed to purchase such a seminal Canadian property. As one Canadian friend put it, Burger King purchasing Tim Horton’s would be about like Gazprom buying Walmart. This rips at a very real part of the Canadian national identity, a U.S.-based company buying a Canadian staple brand. So, they’re moving to Canada to ease both the public relations and the regulatory burden.
The English had a name for this in the 1700s. They called it “colonization.”
So, I’m going to back off my “down with Burger King” mantra a bit, take a chill pill, and enjoy that Whopper. Or maybe, a Whopper Jr., since I’m back on my diet today.