SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Responding to fallout over comments he made in a recent public Facebook post, the owner of Skip’s Fish and Chips is defending his words, saying he was just giving exposure to Atlantic Beef Products’ halal meat.
“[It’s] exposure of [Russ Mallard of Atlantic Beef Product’s] choice to arbitrarily force halal meat on Islanders,” said Paul MacGregor through a text message to the Journal Pioneer.
Halal food adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Koran.
On April 5, MacGregor, the owner of the Summerside restaurant, posted on his eatery’s Facebook page a photo of a burger saying it was his restaurant’s unofficial entry in the current "burger month" campaign on P.E.I., and describing it as “religion-free.”
“It’s a free country … but it seems to me that the general trajectory of so called ‘progressives’ is toward secularism – no religion in the public square.”
“So, I thought it would be, and admittedly a little cheeky and fun, to present the secularists’ dream, a religion-free hamburger. The progressives are apparently not amused.”
MacGregor said his Facebook post was due to his commitment to “a robust dialogue in the public square.
“I admit that some of my rhetoric is politically incorrect, but it is to make a point and to show the disingenuousness of the intolerant left in our society.”
I admit that some of my rhetoric is politically incorrect, but it is to make a point and to show the disingenuousness of the intolerant left in our society.”
He also explained where the beef in his burgers came from, specifying it wasn’t from Atlantic Beef and quoted Mallard, the president of that company, in a January article, saying all beef from the facility was slaughtered in the halal tradition.
In response to MacGregor, Mallard explained that all animals that go through the plant in Albany are slaughtered in the same way.
“The only beef that is halal is the beef that is specifically ordered. One hundred per cent of the beef is stunned before process. That’s an important piece of information. A lot of people think that halal means you don’t stun the animal and that’s become a real problem.
“It’s processed like all the rest of our beef is.
“Then there is a registration process, and if a customer wants halal we follow the proper steps. The product is blessed by an officiant of the Muslim faith who has the proper training.
“But everything else is not sold as halal,” Mallard explained.
Also in a Facebook post, Fresh Media, the marketing company behind the P.E.I. Burger Love campaign, stated: “Over the past few days we have received messages relating to a hate-filled post trying to associate themselves with this month’s promotion. This business [Skip’s Fish & Chips] is not participating in P.E.I. Burger Love, nor do we have any affiliation with the person behind those comments. That particular post does not in any way represent or reflect the value of P.E.I. Burger Love or Fresh Media.”
This is not the first time MacGregor has stirred up controversy on Facebook.
Last year he was involved in another digital war of words after commenting online that the painting of the rainbow coloured sidewalks in Charlottetown was offensive to many. The rainbow is commonly used as an LGBTQ symbol.
MacGregor said the sidewalk comments were meant to expose the hypocrisy of the politicians who claim it symbolizes inclusiveness.