(Victoria)Dogwood Initiative is standing firm in the face of a cease and desist order from the Royal Canadian Mint. In a letter sent to the Mint on Friday the Victoria based democracy watchdog expressed surprise at the Mint’s heavy handed attempt to stop it’s “NoTanker Loonie” project and insisted that it has done no wrong.
“It’s worrying that the Government is willing to defend the image of the loon on Canadian coins but is completely absent when defending BC’s coast from tar sands tankers and oil spills,” remarked Charles Campbell, Communications Director of Dogwood Initiative.
Dogwood Initiative has distributed over 150,000 decals which, when applied to the Canadian one dollar coin, simulate an oil spill by covering the bird and water black. The decal directs people to the NoTankers.ca website where they can sign a petition to ban tankers on the coast of the Great Bear rainforest.
In a letter dated February 2 the Mint accused the Dogwood Initiative of trademark violations and contravening the Currency Act (Section 11) by using Canadian coins for purposes “Otherwise than as currency” and warns of possible summary convictions, fines and imprisonment. A similar letter was sent to several small businesses supporting the campaign.
After consulting legal experts including some of Canada’s top constitutional lawyers, Dogwood Initiative sent a letter to the Mint rejecting its claim that its trademark had been violated and the decal was illegal.
“The Mint’s assertion of trademark rights in all photos of the Loonie is overbroad and raises serious Freedom of Expression issues. And the Mint’s brazen attempt to use a law intended to stop people from melting down coins is nothing but a heavy handed effort to silence our campaign,” stated Charles Campbell.
Dogwood Initiative says it will expand its efforts to distribute 1 million NoTanker decals and is prepared to defend itself in court. “The risk of prosecution under the Currency Act is minor compared to the risk of oil spills from Enbridge’s proposed piplelines or from oil tankers along the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest,” said Campbell.
Background information and images
Media Release (Feb3): Mint Demands Tanker Protest ‘Cease and Desist’
Media Release (Feb 2): Activists Blacken Thousands of Loonies to Protest against oil tankers.