Thank you to Troy Lissoway for writing the letter below.
This petition will be sent to the Government of Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk at both these email addresses:
And a written copy will be sent to:
Office of the Minister
107 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6
To the Honourable Heather Klimchuk,
According to a media report on the website gigcity.ca, Alberta Culture has ordered the Edmonton band Jr. Gone Wild to stop selling t-shirts bearing the band's logo.
The logo features an original drawing of the provincial coat of arms, with the wheat stalks replaced with guitar necks, and the addition of a " poet's highway" to the foothills.
This decision by Alberta Culture to prevent Jr. Gone Wild from using this artwork is wrong-headed for at least two reasons.
First, during the entire history of the band, the musicians have been passionate ambassadors of Alberta and Albertan culture, performing across Canada in front of an Alberta flag donated to them by the province itself. This critically-acclaimed and popular group has been the face of Alberta for a generation of young Canadians coming of age at the tail end of the 20th century. Jr. Gone Wild have been champions of the Alberta identity, and the integration of the provincial coat-of-arms into their logo acts as a love-letter to our home. Telling them to not use this logo makes as much sense as having Calgary prevent Corb Lund from wearing a white Stetson because it's a symbol of the city.
Second, according to the article at gigcity.ca, the wording of the Emblems of Alberta Act seems to be directed at preventing fraudulent use of the coat-of-arms:
"…any design so nearly resembling the armorial bearings of Alberta or any portion of them as to be calculated to deceive…"
The fact of the matter is that the JGW logo, featuring original art with significant differences from the coat-of-arms (including the band's name blazoned across the middle of the shield) cannot reasonably be said to be an attempt to fool people into thinking they are purchasing Crown-endorsed merchandise.
(This is somewhat ironic, since in the early 1990s the province DID endorse JGW, recognizing their efforts to promote Alberta Culture and bestowing on them a flag—featuring the coat-of-arms—to display on their stage during performances.)
Preventing Jr. Gone Wild from using their logo is an inadvertent attack on artistic expression, as well as a financial burden on a small business owner who is obviously not attempting to fraudulently use the coat-of-arms. While the band will likely appreciate the additional publicity, there is no way for Alberta Culture to proceed in this manner without appearing small-minded and unnecessarily bureaucratic. I hope the ministry will do the right thing and allow Jr. Gone Wild to continue celebrating their Alberta heritage.