Dean Fortin’s use of city logo on website raises questions

Fortin vows to stop using city's intellectual property

A screen shot of Dean Fortin’s website displaying the City of Victoria logo. Local experts say the mayor didn’t do anything wrong displaying the logo

Without prompting, mayoral candidate Paul Brown is quick to offer that he’s chosen not to use the City of Victoria’s intellectual property as part of his election platform. 

To do so would be unethical, he said.

The comment was a dig at Mayor Dean Fortin, whose own campaign website boasted the city’s logo.

While not contrary to any election laws, it’s a practice some other incumbent mayoral candidates in B.C. have chosen not to follow. No city logo can be seen on the campaign website for Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, or Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan. 

“Branding is a key asset to any organization or campaign,” explained Ruttan, via email. “I believe that using the City of Nanaimo logo (which is the city’s brand and not mine) would be slightly misleading as I am not appealing to voters on behalf of the city. As well, using the city’s logo on my material may weaken my own brand’s impact.”

Branding preferences aside, experts in the field say there’s no problem with Fortin’s actions.

“This seemed to me to be business as usual,” said Janni Aragon, senior instructor of political science at the University of Victoria. “I don’t think there’s a problem here.”

As an incumbent, Fortin has the right to show his current record, she added.

Michael Prince sees it in the same light. 

“It doesn’t trouble me, for some reason,” said UVic’s  Lansdowne professor of social policy.

More troubling, he said, is the city newsletter, called Connect, which profiles all of the councillors in each issue. 

“The timing was sensitive,” he said of the latest publication mailed on the city’s dime to every household during the campaign period.

As for Fortin, he was surprised to learn of the city’s logo on his website, when asked by the News

“That’s got to come down,” he said.

The city logo was removed from the mayor’s website when the News checked Monday afternoon.

rholmen@vicnews.com

 

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