09 February 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Harrison Mooney

Calgary business group calls for boycott of burger chain that serves B.C. beef

A Calgary business group is calling for a province-wide boycott of American fast food chain Smashburger for serving B.C. beef. 

The announcement is the latest salvo in a brewing trade war between the two provinces that kicked off after Alberta’s NDP government on Tuesday announced a ban on the import of B.C. wine. This decision came in response to the B.C. NDP government’s attempts to slow the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline by proposing restrictions on bitumen shipments.

Following the government’s lead, The Progressive Group for Independent Business, a right-wing collective that bills itself as Calgary’s largest business and taxpayer organization, has launched a campaign against the Colorado-based burger chain, which has just seven locations in Canada, six of them in Alberta.

Smashburger is known for its unique method of cooking burgers, by “smashing” a ball of beef on the grill to “sear in the juices.” In 2012, Smashburger began a Canadian expansion, focusing on Alberta, a province known for its fondness for beef. 

“The reason we are encouraging Albertans to boycott Smashburger is because the beef they serve in their Alberta stores comes from British Columbia and during this critical time we can’t be supporting British Columbia in any way,” said PGIB executive director Craig Chandler in a news release.

“And for those that will complain about hurting local business in Alberta? My answer to them is they should have been serving Alberta beef in Alberta from the start,” he said.

Chandler has long been an outspoken advocate for Alberta beef. The businessman made news in 2016 while pushing for a boycott of Earls, when he suggested the restaurant chain “supports terrorists” due to its decision to begin purchasing beef from an American company, Creekstone Farms, that offers halal meats for Muslim customers.

The comment drew criticism, and the following day, Chandler resigned from the PC party of Alberta’s board of directors. 

Later that summer, however, Earls announced that they would return to their past practice of serving Canadian-born, raised and harvested beef, a victory for which the PGIB took credit in pushing this new boycott. 

“PGIB won the war against Earls and we will win the war against Smashburger all while continuing the fight against anything that originates from British Columbia,” said Chandler.

“We are encouraging our supporters and all Albertans to contact Smashburger and let them know that as long as they are supporting British Columbia, we will not be supporting them.”

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