The Canadian flags along the fence at Lions Centennial Park will be taken down, as scheduled, on Nov. 14. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

The Canadian flags along the fence at Lions Centennial Park will be taken down, as scheduled, on Nov. 14. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

Ponoka flag display taken down on schedule despite controversy

VVOC says the display violates their trademark tribute “Flags of Remembrance”

Despite allegations of trademark infringement, the Ponoka Legion’s flag display at Lions Centennial Park were taken down on the originally scheduled date, Nov. 14.

The flags were put up by the Ponoka Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 66 and other volunteers on Oct. 25.

The Ponoka Legion, which calls their display “Flags of Honour,” has been erecting the flags for several years.

Al Cameron, founder of Veterans Voices of Canada (VVOC), says the display did not conform to VVOC’s guidelines and rules for their trademarked “Flags of Remembrance” tribute.

In a prepared statement, Cameron stated Flags of Remembrance has been a trademarked and copyrighted initiative of VVOC since 2014.

“There was inability and unwillingness to work with us easily, and the expectation to present our tribute exactly how it needed to be presented in media or within the community,” said Cameron.

“Veterans Voices of Canada-Flags of Remembrance, was not adhered to, even as our flag flew on site.”

According to Cameron, Ponoka first held a flag tribute, under the direction of VVOC, in 2015, and again in 2016.

In a sanctioned Flags of Remembrance tribute, there should be 128 Canadian flags to represent the 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action from the Boer War to current missions, but there should also be sponsored plaques for each flag.

“The Ponoka Legion volunteers/reps were not doing this, where other tribute sites had. This is where funds would come from where we would donate back to that community as well as help VVOC do its important work.”

Cameron says after 2016, the “display opportunity was taken away” and then re-offered in 2019.

“No reply was received and no offer was given for 2020 to participate because of this.”

Cameron also claims the flags, poles and signage are the property of VVOC.

“This happened without asking for partnership, our permission to display, or giving any consideration of the right way to do things here.”

After being contacted by Cameron, the Ponoka Legion removed the VVOC Flags of Remembrance flag, but Cameron says this was disrespectful to himself and the VVOC.

According to Ponoka Legion President Lee Arnold, the Legion’s executive met on Nov. 10 to discuss the matter and decided to keep the flags up until Nov. 14, when they had originally planned to dismantle the display.

“As far as we’re concerned, this is a non-issue,” said Arnold.

Arnold says the Legion feels they complied with Cameron’s wishes by removing the VVOC flag, and did not hear back from him after their initial conversation.

Arnold says the Legion has no further comment at this time, and will await any further developments with this matter.

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