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Alberta’s energy war room replacing logo after learning it’s used by U.S. software giant

Canadian Energy Centre faces controversy over its logo
WATCH ABOVE: The Canadian Energy Centre – otherwise known as Alberta’s energy war room – is facing controversy over its logo, which is virtually the same as another company’s logo. As Tomasia DaSilva reports, some are calling it an "amateur move."

The Canadian Energy Centre — perhaps better known as Alberta’s energy war room — will be changing its company logo after learning the icon is being used by another company.

The icon was made by Calgary-based marketing agency Lead & Anchor, the CEC said in an email to Global News. The centre is working with the agency to determine what happened.

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

“This is an unfortunate situation but we are committed to making the necessary corrections to our visual identity,” said Tom Olsen, the CEC’s chief executive officer and managing director.

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

READ MORE: Alberta premier opens war room to promote ‘truth’ about energy industry

U.S.-based software giant Progress Software Corp., said it is looking into whether the war room violated the company’s trademarked logo.

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The company, based in the Greater Boston area, made the comment in a brief email statement and on Twitter after people on social media called attention to similarities in the two logos.

Progress Software’s emblem is a stylized emerald-green, sharp-angled depiction of what appear to be radiating waves.

Last week, the war room unveiled a logo that appears to be the same except for the colour.

Olsen said the icon has been in use since the CEC launched on Dec. 11.

Any costs associated with removal and adjustment of the design will be borne by the agency.

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The CEC has already started work to “update its visual identity and a new logo is forthcoming,” the CEC email said.

Inside the Canadian Energy Centre, also dubbed Alberta’s “war room.”
Inside the Canadian Energy Centre, also dubbed Alberta’s “war room.”. Global News

Global News also questioned the CEC about its social image, which appears to show Toronto and not Calgary, where the centre is based.

CEC said its mandate is to promote and defend Canada’s energy industry from coast to coast and the imagery was chosen to illustrate that it is national in scope.

Canadian Energy Centre@CDNEnergyCentre on Twitter, Dec. 19, 2019.
Canadian Energy Centre@CDNEnergyCentre on Twitter, Dec. 19, 2019. Credit: Twitter/ Canadian Energy Centre

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.

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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.

READ MORE: UCP says Alberta’s energy war room’s ‘internal operations’ not subject to freedom of information laws

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.

Extended: Sitting down with the CEO of Alberta’s ‘war room’
Extended: Sitting down with the CEO of Alberta’s ‘war room’

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.

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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.

— With files from Emily Mertz, Global News

An inside look at Alberta’s ‘war room’
An inside look at Alberta’s ‘war room’