Sunday, May 13, 2007

The crowd thins, the plot thickens

Further to the use of the government of Canada wordmark on march for life banners, according to the GoC website, the wordmark is definitely a protected symbol:

"Please note that this symbol is trademark protected and may only be used as authorized by the Government of Canada."

According to the Federal Identity Program:

"Official symbols of the Government of Canada are protected against unauthorized use in Canada under Section 9(1)(n) of Canada's Trade-Marks Act, and protected internationally under article 6ter of the Paris Convention."

What is the FIP?:

The Federal Identity Program (FIP) is the Canadian government's corporate identity program. The purpose of the FIP is to clearly identify each program and service of the government or the Government of Canada in general. Managed by the Treasury Board Secretariat, this program and the government's communication policy help to shape the public image of the government. In general, logos – or, in the parlance of the policy, visual identifiers – used by government departments other than those specified in the FIP must be approved by the Treasury Board.

Who's in charge of the Treasury Board? The head (secretary) of the Treasury Board reports to the president of the Treasury Board, well-known wingnut justice minister Vic Toews, who according to the Liberal website, had this to say about abortion:

"...Conservative Justice Critic Vic Toews (now the new Conservative Justice Minister) told the National Pro-Life Conference on Sept. 8, 2004, in a speech entitled “Abuse of the Charter by the Supreme Court,” that the right to abortion is a result of “activist judges” abusing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to develop and implement their own social policy. He directly attacked the Charter, criticizing it as anti-democratic, and said the Conservative Party wants to open up the process for judicial appointment. Toews told the audience that the ability to pass legislation must be coupled with the ability to appoint judges more favourable to the social conservative viewpoint..."

All-righty, then! So the campaign life coalition either used the wordmark illegally or, more disturbingly, they got permission to use it. If the latter, it raises some serious questions:

Who in the Treasury Board authorized the CLC to use the logo?

Why was a special interest group who lobbies for something that clearly runs counter to the Government of Canada's stated position authorized to use Government of Canada property on their promotional material?

Was the Government of Canada involved with the production of said promotional material (banners)? This is going out on a limb, but it needs to be asked.

I could be missing something here... but I've emailed my MP anyway.

Update: In the comments section here, Jim Elve of Blogs Canada tells his story about unauthorized use of the wordmark. Jim has an interesting idea: a blogburst about this issue to force the government to publicly state that they do not support the CLC. Ideas?

Edit: Frank Frink has an even better video that shows banners in both English and French with the wordmark. Huh!?