Editorials - March 17, 2023
Roll up, pay up
Even an institution as iconic as Tim Hortons is susceptible to a marketing misstep every once in a while, and it seems it has taken a beloved game that harkened the coming of spring every year for millions of Canadians and turned it into a publicity nightmare. The name change from Roll Up the Rim to Win to Roll Up to Win signifies the switch from the physical game play under the cup rim to playing a casino type game on its app. Ostensibly the change was to ensure the safety of staff, especially during the pandemic, to avoid handling germ-ridden cup rims, but the app was instantly under fire for privacy issues.
The biggest blunder has to be the latest round where customers have been told by their apps that they won a $10,000 American Express prepaid card, one of the big daily prizes, only to have their claim denied by Tim Hortons, dismissing the wins as a technical glitch. Tim Hortons claims that a “small subset” of users were mistakenly told that they won, rather than that they were entered into a draw for the big prize. The company sent each of the “winners” a letter that let them know that, due to a “technical error”, they had received the wrong message and offered a $50 gift card as an apology. Even the letter that was widely shared on social media has a rather off-handed, casual tone that doesn’t quite the level of contrition you might expect.
Sorry, Tim Hortons. You can’t snatch away a prize that quickly and callously. The players went with you to the digital game in good faith. A company the size of Tim Hortons should have the means to test the software before it goes live. Pay the prizes out and make it a story about goodwill and wring some great publicity out of the game yet. – DS
Measure twice, cut once
Earlier this week, The Canadian Press published an investigation into the provincial government’s More Homes Built Faster Act and the concern being expressed by Ontario’s municipalities, in particular when it comes to lost development fee revenue. For municipal councils in Huron County, that has been the tip of the iceberg. While the need for housing is real, intensification is not widespread in rural Ontario and the act could really shake things up in this part of the world.
No one is disputing the need for more housing and Huron County is just another victim of this issue. However, drastic changes that will last generations cannot be pushed through hastily.
Unrelated, but not really, municipal councils are now pushing back on the federal government and its cannabis legalization legislation that allowed for the growing of marijuana across the country. A decision made in Ottawa, it had severe and lasting ramifications, especially in rural Ontario where locations could be procured cheaply with little to no regard for neighbours or helpless municipal councils.
Will the More Homes Built Faster Act be the latest example of this kind of hasty move, handed down to Ontarians in an effort to solve a problem without thinking through the potential ramifications? When a decision is made in Toronto or Ottawa, it’s those living in communities like Blyth, Vanastra, Clinton and beyond who have to live with them. Problems need solutions, not the creation of new problems. – SL
Recently, there has been a growing tension between China and the West, particularly the U.S. The relationship between the two sides has become increasingly strained, with both accusing each other of unfair practices and aggression. The sources of tension are numerous, but primarily stem from issues related to trade, human rights, territorial disputes and technological competition. The U.S. has accused China of intellectual property theft and currency manipulation. As a result, the U.S. implemented tariffs aimed at curbing China’s trade practices. In response, China imposed tariffs on American goods, leading to a trade war that has hurt both sides economically.
Western countries have criticized China’s treatment of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region, including the Uyghur population, accusing China of human rights abuses such as forced labour and genocide. China has denied these allegations and has accused the West of interfering in its internal affairs.
There are concerns about China’s military expansion in the South China Sea. The U.S. and other countries have accused China of destabilizing the region and undermining international law. Western anxiety about China engaging in espionage to gain a technological advantage is increasing. This has led to restrictions being imposed on Chinese tech companies like Huawei and TikTok. The COVID-19 pandemic has also fueled tensions, with both sides blaming each other for the spread of the virus.
It is within the realm of possibility for these complex issues to be resolved peacefully but recent posturing on both sides suggests a military confrontation, sadly, might be unavoidable. “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” is never a comforting international policy. – SBS