Imagine if, while sitting as Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy had decided to not only place the new concept of “Human Security” at the heart of the Ministry’s agenda but had also decided to trade mark the term – under his personal name.
Clearly the opposition members would have a field day… highlighting how the Minister was using his office for personal gain – using his political influence to create a brand that ultimately he owned the rights to.
Sadly, this hypothetical example is all too real here in my home town of Vancouver. Our Mayor, Sam Sullivan, has personally trade-marked “ecodensity” a term he’s been using to describe the municipal government’s a new initiative to reducie Vancouver’s environmental impact by creating a more compact city. As a few legal experts have noted, this is something that would normally be trademarked by the city’s lawyers… oddly it wasn’t. If that wasn’t enough it was again the mayor, and not the city or its staff, that registered the domain name ecodensity.ca.
None of the Mayor’s gaffe’s – like taking 30 item long priority list to a meeting with the Prime Minister (you should take a list of 3 items and you’ll probably get to talk about one) and then refusing to share anything about the discussion with taxpayers (who footed the bill) – have been so heavy so as to cost him an election, cumulatively however this errors will start to take their toll.
Fortunately for the Mayor, no one is really paying attention to municipal politics in Vancouver.