Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lifesite's take on the March for Life banner story

Tempest in a Teapot Over Mistaken Use of Federal “Wordmark” on Two March for Life Banners
Banners used for past five years without any complaints

By John Jalsevac

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 16, 2007 ( – A Canadian Press story printed in the Globe and Mail and several other major publications today, follows the cue of a group of Canadian bloggers who have “outed” Campaign Life Coalition over the past weekend for using a copyrighted federal “wordmark” on their March for Life banners.

Pictures and videos of the March for Life banners with the offending wordmark have circulated around the internet since the March for Life took place last week. Some bloggers have speculated that the inclusion of the logo on the sign indicates either that the March was sponsored by or received funding from Stephen Harper’s Conservative federal government, or that Campaign Life Coalition effectively “stole” the logo. Some are referring to the issue as the “March for Life Scandal”.

The logo—which consists of the word “Canada”, with a Canadian flag over the last “a”—is evidently protected under the so-called Federal Identity Program (FIP). According to the FIP, the logo may only be used with permission from the government.

Garth Turner, the former Conservative MP, now turned Liberal, pointed out on his blog that the use of the logo “suggests federal funding.” If, however, the March didn’t receive federal funding, then Turner suggests “the organizers may have done an un-Christian thing in ripping off the symbol.”

Jim Hughes, the President of Campaign Life Coalition, claims, however, that it was neither.

The March for Life, he said, does not and never has received any federal funding. Furthermore, the banners in question, said Hughes, have been used without any problem for five years, and were likely designed by a volunteer who was unaware of the copyright issues involved. Neither Hughes, nor anyone else at CLC had any idea that there were any legal issues involved with the wordmark.

While the bloggers who raised the issue have speculated that the use of the logo is a sign that Stephen Harper is secretly pro-life, and that his government is funding pro-life causes, Hughes pointed out that the banners were in use when the Liberals were in power. No complaints were ever made then.

The CP story quoted Robert Makichuk of the Treasury Board Secretariat indicating that CLC will be asked to “cease and desist” from using the copyrighted wordmark, and that if they did not, then appropriate legal action would be pursued.

Hughes, however, says that CLC is more than happy to remove the wordmark from the banners, and will do so immediately.

“If I’d known that there was a logo representing the federal government on the signs,” said Hughes, “I would have had it ripped off because of the continuous support by the federal government for the killing of two million children in this country.”

Hughes claims that the “controversy” being engendered about the March for Life banners is simply a ploy being used to detract from the real story, which is the presence of 7,000 Canadians rallying at Parliament Hill in support of the pro-life cause.

“The real story was the presence of 7,000 people on Parliament Hill protesting against abortion, the killing of children before birth,” he said.

The Canadian March for Life is the largest annual rally that takes place on Parliament Hill, and yet rarely receives correspondingly appropriate media coverage from the Mainstream Media.

See photos of the crowd at

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