B.C. government quietly drops Best Place on Earth slogan

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

British Columbia is no longer the best place on Earth.

The B.C. government has quietly removed the slogan from all its material, journalist Bob Mackin writes in TheTyee.ca.

The move comes on the heels of Vancouver's downgrade in the Economist's most livable city rankings last summer.

The Best Place on Earth slogan, along with B.C.'s sunburst and mountains logo, came into use in the years leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

It replaced the traditional Beautiful British Columbia slogan on special Olympic licence plates and began being used on government documents and publications. It was also the tagline in a series of slick commercials promoting the province.

Mackin reports Pat Bell, Jobs, Tourism and Innovation minister, hinted the slogan was on the way out during last spring's budget debate. In response to a question, Bell said it was a "broader brand" used only in B.C. "to help motivate British Columbians."

The slogan is a legacy of Gordon Campbell era. The three-term Liberal premier was forced out of the party leadership in the wake of the government's harmonized sales tax debacle with the lowest polling numbers - nine per cent popularity - in B.C. history.

Current Premier Christy Clark, facing an election in 2013, has been rebranding both the government and the party with her family friendly image.

Perhaps taking a leaf from Stephen Harper's Conservatives, the Liberal party's own logo has been changed to de-emphasize the word Liberal and highlight Clark's first name.

Mackin writes that he tried to track what happened to the slogan by filing a freedom-of-information request and was surprised to be told there were no documents on the subject. In a follow-up inquiry, he got a copy of correspondence regarding his first request.

"Please explain to the applicant that, after some discussion, a decision was made to remove the slogan, however, there was no written directive issued," wrote Denise Champion, an official with the government citizens' services branch.

"The decision is being implemented as opportunities occur in order to keep the cost of the change to a minimum. The sunshine and mountains logo is still in use. We cannot produce records that don't exist."

Last August, the annual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit displaced Vancouver at the top of its list of world's most livable cities. After a decade on top, it dropped to third place behind Melbourne and Vienna.

The shift caused consternation among Vancouver residents, especially when an Economist Intelligence Unit spokesman said the city lost points because of traffic problems near Victoria, on Vancouver Island.

(Reuters Photo)