EDITORIAL – Hot dog boss says what many of us have been thinking

Michael McCain. (Image: Maple Leaf Foods)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WHAT’S WRONG with billionaire business people weighing in on important political matters?

Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain is in hot water for taking to Twitter to blast Donald Trump over the missile downing of a Ukrainian airliner carrying dozens of Canadians.

McCain tweeted his anger over the loss of a family of a Maple Leaf Foods employee in the tragedy. He called the assassination of an Iranian general “an ill-conceived plan to divert focus from political woes.”

While not naming Trump, he referred to “a narcissist in Washington” whose administration is “unconstrainted by checks/ balances.”

“We are in mourning and I am livid,” he wrote.

Reaction to McCain’s tweets has been swift, mostly condemning him, with many vowing to boycott his company.

But as one commentator said, McCain was simply saying what so many of us have been thinking. The only thing stopping major corporate spokesmen from getting involved in political issues is the fear of negative impacts on their product sales.

More of them should follow McCain’s example. Corporate leaders have as much right to express themselves on world events as anyone else. Movie stars do it all the time — just wait for all the political messages from the winners when the Academy Awards come up this year.

Maybe we agree with McCain’s contention that Donald Trump is to blame for the loss of so many, so needlessly. Maybe we don’t, but the fact he holds a high position in Canadian business makes his opinion worth hearing.

As it happens, I don’t often buy Michael McCain’s hot dog wieners or bacon but, if I did, this certainly wouldn’t make me consider boycotting them. In fact, it just might inspire me to visit the packaged meats section on my way home.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7946 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

11 Comments on EDITORIAL – Hot dog boss says what many of us have been thinking

  1. Bill Hadgkiss // January 16, 2020 at 9:45 PM // Reply

    I’ll pay attention next time so my purchase is Maple Leaf, thanks Mr. McCain.

  2. Since you and I are on a first name basis here Pierre (no last name provided), Mel is a big boy and I am sure that he can defend his stance without your sarcastic contributions. Is this now a school yard contest where the “winner” is the one with the most friends?

    Please reveal the error in my statement that Donald Trump did not shoot down the airliner.

    • Pierre Filisetti // January 17, 2020 at 6:27 AM // Reply

      I found your original comment so darn…I am really struggling to find a polite way to put it…naive. Actually no, it was just bad. Not only about Donald Trump the POTUS actually causing continuous annoyances (and not only in Iran), just like a schoolyard bully. The other part of your inane comment, the one about having and presenting opinions was also stratospherically intolerable for which a little sarcasm was the only reasonable antidote I could muster, because after reading it (your comment) it really made me go “ballistic.” But I wasn’t insomuch defending the editor as I was defending reason.

      • I guess that your idea of what constitutes “reason” and mine are fundamentally different. Mike McCain is supporting the murderous and totalitarian Iranian regime in their “the Devil made me do it” strategy to place the blame for their own actions, whether deliberate or just incompetent, onto Donald Trump. I believe that his attempt to blame Trump is motivated more by pre-existing personal animosity than by a reasoned analysis of events and I believe that Mel Rothenburger’s support of McCain is similarly motivated.

        Not that it is necessarily relevant but Qassem Soleimani was the principal architect and executive of Iran’s efforts to export their particular brand of terror. He was a legitimate military target for the USA, just like Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

        Read this for some background:

        Look in the mirror before accusing me of being naive.

    • Imagine that…a fully comprehensive, objective opinion from Canada’s National Lampoon…sorry Jim but while you are entitled to your opinions you are not entitled to your facts nor the lack of understanding of history, I may add.
      A bit of history first:
      But let me ask you who have the Iranians bothered? Who’s troops are on who’s soil? And moreover, why is the USA constantly at war (militarily, economically and either directly or through a proxy) in every corner of the world?

      • Jim Irwin // January 19, 2020 at 6:16 PM //

        Well gee whiz! Here I thought we were talking about relatively current events and now you tell me that we are actually discussing events from more than 70 years ago! And what’s more, only YOU are entitled to YOUR facts and to YOUR understanding of history. I wasn’t aware of these rules! They somehow seem unfair but I guess that’s just me.

        While I am not a dedicated student of Middle East history, I am not entirely ignorant of it either. It is certainly true that the USA, Great Britain and France have done far too much meddling in the affairs of Iran and the entire Middle East. Are you now arguing that this interference justifies Iran’s shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752? But, whether you are or not is entirely beside the point of our initial disagreement, which is about whose fault it is. (A quick aside. I am surprised that Mel Rothenburger, a former newspaper editor, didn’t pick up on your misuse of “who’s” when you should have written “whose”, twice.)

        You ask, who have the Iranians bothered? Iran funds Hezbollah and Hamas. The Iranian Republic Guard Corps Quds Force, commanded by Qassem Soleimani, was an invaluable ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad as he murdered thousands upon thousands of his own people. Iran doesn’t often send its own troops abroad but they “bother” lots of people, most often through the use of proxies. As for the reasons that the USA is constantly at war, I can only ask you, are you trying to change the subject? We were debating the question of who is at fault for the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. I originally thought that the opinion, held by some, that Donald Trump is to blame was due to their hatred or contempt or whatever of the man but your last sentence leads to believe that it’s due to plain, old-fashioned USA bashing.

        In any case, that’s my last response. Have at it. I am moving on.

      • Hey Jim: English is a second language for me and some of the grammar rules, especially in informal communication which does not get proof-read in depth, are occasionally overlooked. It shouldn’t make it for a big deal but thanks for point it out. As far as the latest “chain of events” goes, it certainly is a dreadful thing the downing of a civilian aircraft full of innocents people. But not often are single events like this one discernible from a comprehensive reality with precedents going back decades. One should try to look at these events objectively including for example the role of another terrorist organization called the CIA. Or the role the current POTUS has had in fomenting more discord rather than working towards reconciliation. Yes in my opinion the cowards American are picking on the easy targets. They use diplomacy of sorts in dealing with Russia and China but because Iran is an easy pouncing ball they go at it with alarming regularity. And unlike you I am not “out of here” nor I am ready to “move on” because it is important to set the record straight and these issues will be with us going forward because we are not willing to address and straightening the record.

  3. L Dawne Taylor // January 16, 2020 at 10:29 AM // Reply

    I really appreciate McCain’s willingness to step outside expected corporate behaviour and lambaste the guilty party in Washington. Surely a corporation has more responsibility than simply earning profit for its shareholders. It indeed has an ethical responsibility in society. I will look to buy more Maple Leaf the future, thanks to McCain’s tweets.

  4. Donald Trump didn’t shoot down the airliner. McCain is aiming at the wrong target, just like the Iranian air defence people. Actually, more likely, he is just venting his pre-existing dislike of Trump. You too Mel have often expressed your opinion of the man and I suspect that your support for McCain is likely guided by that opinion, not by any objective analysis of events.

    I repeat, Donald Trump didn’t shoot down the airliner.

    • Yes Mel make sure to vet your opinions with Jim first, just in case…because it is not Trump’s fault he is the POTUS.

  5. Good to see a bit of objective courage and frankness superseding subjective conformity.
    Actually Mr. McCain was pretty on top of things during the listeria outbreak too. A text-book case of owning up to shortcomings unlike Boeing.

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