Logo a no go: Alberta energy war room to pull image belonging to U.S. company

EDMONTON — Alberta’s energy war room says it is pulling and replacing its logo after learning that it was already being used by another company.

The war room, officially known as the Canadian Energy Centre, says the image was developed by a Calgary-based marketing agency that will bear all costs for the reconfiguration.

“This is an unfortunate situation but we are committed to making the necessary corrections to our visual identity,” Tom Olsen, head of the energy centre, said in a statement Thursday.

“We understand this was a mistake and we are in discussions with our agency to determine how it happened.”

The statement does not say how much was paid for the original logo, which was unveiled last week when Premier Jason Kenney, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Olsen officially opened the centre in Calgary.

Social media users began circulating on Twitter on Wednesday night side-by-side versions of the two logos, pointing out the similarity between the war room’s graphic to the trademarked symbol for Progress Software, a U.S.-based international applications firm.

On Thursday morning, Progress said in an emailed statement it was looking into the situation but offered no further comment.

The logos are identical, stylized sharp-angled depictions of what appear to be radiating waves, except the Progress one is emerald-green and the war room version is two shades of blue.

The centre said the logo was produced for it by the marketing agency Lead & Anchor.

Officials with the Calgary-based company could not be reached for comment and its website went private late in the afternoon.

The logo had already been seen on the war room’s website, on the wall of its downtown Calgary office, and on signs and in a promotional video shown at the Dec. 11 opening.

The Canadian Energy Centre is a provincial government corporation receiving $30 million a year to highlight achievements in Alberta’s oil and gas sector and to refute what it deems to be misinformation about the industry.

Kenney and his United Conservatives campaigned on a promise to create the war room to counter misinformation Kenney said was coming from some environmental groups and others seeking to landlock Alberta’s oil and gas.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley has dismissed the centre as a wasteful “slush fund” for Kenney’s political goals. She said it has no firewalls or safeguards to ensure that its data, research and work aren’t used for the benefit of the UCP or its political allies.

On Thursday, the NDP caucus, in a statement about the logo, said: “It looks like the war room has already lost their first battle. And it’s becoming clearer by the day that they have no idea what they’re doing.”

Olsen has promised the centre will push the story of Alberta’s on oil and gas while respectfully rebutting its critics.

The centre is divided into three areas: data research, story-telling and a unit to respond quickly to what it perceives to be untruths about the oil and gas industry.

To that end, Olsen sent a rebuttal to the Medicine Hat News this week after the newspaper published a column questioning the merits of the centre, expressing concerns that it isn’t subject to freedom-of-information searches and could be used to stifle legitimate dissent and commentary on the oil and gas industry.

Not so, said Olsen in his written rebuttal. He said the centre exists to tell Alberta’s story and is subject to the Whistle Blowers Act and Alberta’s auditor general.

“Oversight is rigorous,” wrote Olsen.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2019.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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