With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games scheduled for Vancouver, the Canadian Olympic Committee has set the goal of "owning the podium." Today the Olympic Committee took the first step toward another form of ownership – language. Industry Minister Maxime Bernier introduced Bill C-47, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, legislation that provides the Vancouver Olympic organizers with remarkable power over the language and symbols associated with the Olympics. The legislation is supposedly intended to deal with ambush marketing, which are attempts by businesses to associate themselves with the Olympics without becoming official sponsors. Similar legislation has been introduced in other countries that have hosted the Olympics, though there are questions about the effectiveness of the approach.
While it is understandable that the Olympic organizers want to maximize the marketing potential of the games, the bill raises several concerns.