Skip To Content

    Here's The Conservative Consultant Who Engineered #BoycottTims

    From a single tweet to a top trend, in less than an hour.

    Tim Hortons kicked off a flood of publicity when it announced it would stop running oil sands ads from Enbridge on Tims TV, which airs on screens inside some of its locations.

    @faisal_moola We value your feedback and the Enbridge advertisements are no longer airing on Tims TV.

    A group called SumofUs had launched an online petition to have Tims drop the ads.

    The company's tweet caught the eye of conservative consultant Stephen Taylor.

    McDonald's coffee is better anyway. Bye Tims.

    Taylor's field is "strategic political communications." He's a former Conservative nomination candidate who has gone on to work for Conservative politicians. His experience includes launching cross-country protests to an NDP-Liberal coalition in 2008.

    Six minutes after Taylor's tweet, the minister for Western Economic Diversification (and Calgary-area MP) Michelle Rempel weighed in.

    .@TimHortons just sent a msg to the thousands of Cdns employed by Canada's energy sector.

    Taylor suggested a boycott and used the #BoycottTims hashtag. The minister immediately got onboard.

    .@MichelleRempel @TimHortons Time to draw the line. #BoycottTims

    Then he contacted Canada's Defence Minister.

    Hey @jkenney, will you join me, @MichelleRempel and other Canadians to #BoycottTims? #DrawTheLine #SupportCanadianEnergy

    Jason Kenney, who oversees a $20 billion defence budget, quickly weighed in on a coffee chain's choice in advertising partners.

    I'm proud to represent thousands of constituents who work for @Enbridge & other CDN energy companies, @stephen_taylor #SupportCanadianEnergy

    The former leader of the Alberta Wild Rose Party also jumped in.

    .@TimHortons Did you know Enbridge is Number 6 on the list of 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada for 2015? Link:

    All of this happened in just over 20 minutes.

    Within an hour of Taylor's first #BoycottTims tweet it was the number one Twitter trending topic in Canada.

    And… #BoycottTims is now Number 1 trending Twitter topic in Canada.

    Between the politicians jumping in and the #BoycottTims hashtag trending across Canada, the media took notice.

    Stories on the supposed backlash spread across CTV, the Toronto Star, The Sun papers, Rogers Radio stations, Global News, and others.

    Taylor has long been a vocal supporter of Canada's energy industry.

    Obama puts the United States at risk by listening to environmental radicals over national security/energy security interests of the US.

    @DavidSuzukiFDN why do you stand against FN jobs in the energy sector?

    Think of the Keystone XL pipeline as an IQ test for greens

    Brad Wall suggests we should never be ashamed of Canada's energy wealth. #mnc14

    Obama talks energy independence *cough* keystone *cough* #sotu

    Taylor doesn't just have a personal interest in the industry.

    He worked for the PR firm FleishmanHillard on their oil sands campaign. They lobbied for American approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Reached via phone by BuzzFeed Canada, Taylor said he was not paid to create the #BoycottTims hashtag but rather did it out of personal interest. As for getting high-profile politicians to take part in the campaign off the bat, he said he reached out to people he knew.

    Taylor says it's about equality of voices.

    If u think that it's important that pro-Canadian, pro-Energy voices are also heard, please tweet and RT #BoycottTims #SupportCanadianEnergy

    Without Tim Hortons airing the ads, the energy industry will have to resort to other venues to get its message out. One such option is the partnership it has with Postmedia, the country's largest newspaper chain.

    As a bonus, this Twitter campaign also gave Taylor a reason to argue with a senior Liberal strategist.

    Why aren't you defending the energy sector? Liberal Party responds to 100,000 energy jobs with a shrug. #BoycottTims

    As for Tim Hortons, it's now damned either way.

    #BoycottTims if you're against the Enbridge ads. #BoycottTims if you're for the Enbridge ads. Social media has just screwed Tim Hortons.

    Stephen Taylor was a key player in making the #BoycottTims hashtag trend, but he was not the first to use it. This story incorrectly said he "created" the hashtag.