In a surprise announcement made earlier today, Giant Tiger – a Canadian chain of discount stores with over 200 locations across the country and an oddly uncanadian mascot – declared they are suspending a substantial percentage of Canadians without pay, despite this not really falling under their jurisdiction as a private retailer, and being wholly impractical.
The companies stated reasons for doing so were the same as those for which they are suspending a ‘loss-prevention’ worker who recently tied himself by the short, ugly, unforgiving, but usually invisible, cord of ingrained racism to an Indigenous man while the latter perused a Giant Tiger store in Regina for deals, but instead came away with a special on prejudice (get a complimentary suspicious asshole with every move you make, redeemable any damn day).
“After reviewing our corporate policy, which expressly forbids discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation, it was clear that the employee in question had to be suspended,” said Tommy Vraimant, spokesperson for Giant Tiger, from the Tiger’s Den – the company’s nickname for its corporate headquarters in Ottawa – while discussing the recent incident in Regina, in which a security worker apparently lost the key to the security camera room and so was forced to do his profiling in public.
“Obviously that guy has to go. But then we started thinking ‘well shit, if we’re suspending people for perpetuating systemic racism, who else should we be suspending?’ And right away we were like ‘so most of the country I guess eh?.”
While admitting they had no actual way to enforce these suspensions, the company said that logic is logic, and pretending it (or systemic racism) doesn’t exist isn’t going to make it go away.
“We all know that bias against Indigenous peoples doesn’t start and end with one rent-a-cop in a discount store in Regina. It is literally everywhere and the whole nation knows it. The jokes, the looks, the snide remarks. Not to mention the active police cover-ups, institutionalized discrimination, and continued governmental lip service (at best) from the Trudeau administration, despite their having said that they would let their actions speak for themselves on this issue were they elected to office.”
The spokesperson stops here for a breath. In the background alerts from his phone are coming in so quickly it sounds like Giant Tiger HQ is conducting a fire drill.
“People seem to have a lot of opinions on this,” Tommy says sardonically as he breathes a sigh into the other end of the line. “And they aren’t generally favourable.” He pauses, assumedly reading through a few of the fourteen thousand tell-offs he’s just received. A sudden rustling follows, and then a hanging silence which is eventually punctuated by the sound of a smartphone rattling into a bin on the other side of the room.
“Y’know we here at Giant Tiger get it,” Mr. Vraimant says, wrapping up the interview before he unlists his license plate and moves his family into a Holiday Inn. “This stuff isn’t easy to talk about, and sure, maybe a lot of folks aren’t actively promoting anti-Indigenous biases. But the fact is you have to do better than not say something when someone tells another shit joke about a native guy, or throws down a loaded preconception when an Indigenous woman goes missing. You can’t just fucking listen eh? You have to start talking. Or you’re no better than our now-suspended ‘loss prevention specialist’ in Regina. So like I said, we’re suspending a whole whack of Canadians until we can sort this mess out. And if you aren’t sure you qualify you probably do.”