GOD GUARD THEE: 10 Suggestions for a New Newfoundland & Labrador Coat of Arms

Good news for heraldry enthusiasts everywhere: at their last convention, the provincial Liberals voted to look at re-examining and potentially re-designing Newfoundland and Labrador’s coat of arms.

Good news for heraldry enthusiasts everywhere: at their last convention, the provincial Liberals voted to look at re-examining and potentially re-designing Newfoundland and Labrador’s coat of arms.

Our provincial seal is one of the oldest in Canada. Its design dates from about 1638, when King Charles I bestowed it to English merchant and explorer David Kirke. After Charles and the rest of his Royalist supporters lost the English Civil War (and their heads), Kirke’s crest was lost until it was rediscovered in the 1920s and adapted by the Dominion government for official use. And in case you haven’t seen it for awhile, its lion- and unicorn-speckled shield is crowned with an elk (a species alien to the province) and presented by two stoically half-naked Indigenous warriors.

So, there’s a lot going on. Some people argue that these men represent the Beothuk and that their place on the coat of arms is a fitting tribute to a people extinguished in part by European settlement. Others (including Liberal MHA Randy Edmunds) argue that two 17th century fantasies of the Noble Savage are maybe not great posterboys for Truth and Reconciliation in 2018. Or perhaps all our brains have been poisoned by political correctness, and this whole dispute about official clipart is distracting from all the real problems facing our province, like how more Baymen need to move into the suburbs and/or die.

Anyways, for those of you worried that this is a waste of time and tax money, at a time we can’t afford it, it’s unlikely that a review will actually happen and even less likely that they’ll actually change it. But in case they ever do, I have a bunch of ideas. Because I have an interest in both advancing provincial aesthetics and in saving the government money, they are offered here free of charge.

Feel free to use as many of them as you want, they’re mostly just the same joke reiterated in slightly different ways over and over again so they’ll probably stack pretty well:

1.)

The shield displays a rainbow crosswalk trailing off into a rising sun. It is held above a lake of fire by two crying angels.

2.)

A needle, a pot leaf, a beer bottle, and a Pepsi can are arrayed beneath a cod skeleton. This shield is flanked by two Newfoundland dogs; one is ferocious and frothy while the other is dopey and enormous. The new provincial motto is “what odds?”

3.)

Tangled mess of multicoloured triangles vaguely shaped like the silhouette of a fish. The different colours symbolize different parts of our cultural heritage (blue for the ocean; black for the gnawing abyss at the core of your being; green for how much money you lose in taxes; red for what you see whenever the doctor says Jigg’s dinner will kill you; yellow for optimism; etc.) and the points of the triangles all represent The Way Forward.

4.)

There are four faces in different stages of ageing. The face grimaces more each time it’s aged. Atop the shield is an utterly decrepit fifth face, its wrinkled skin stretched wryly across a sneering skull. The shield is presented by two skeletons dressed in those imposing nursing capes. A banner at the bottom reads: “The traditions of all dead generations weigh like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”

5.)

The exact same one as now, except the two guys are smiling and giving thumbs up.

6.)

A crest design that is developed collaboratively between artists all across the province, with a special emphasis on equitably magnifying the voices of women and visible minorities as everyone works together to craft an image that speaks for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. This shield will then be presented by two naked gutboys slapping their dicks together and highfiving, obscuring the artwork almost entirely. The new provincial motto is a picture of a POST button.

7.)

The crest is four different crows. At the top is a crow and the shield is presented by two crows. “Crow.”

8.)

The shield is the logos of the four biggest oil companies in the province. The shield is flanked by the Upper Churchill hydro facility on the left and the Muskrat Falls hydro facility on the right. A radiant Gull Island tops the scene. Our new slogan is “One More For The Road.”

9.)

The coat of arms of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. No one is using it currently and it is just a phenomenal piece of nationalist imagery. If the extremely prominent hammer and sickle makes anyone uncomfortable, we can just replace it with the Wing‘n’ It logo to symbolize our insatiable hunger for chicken wings served in different kinds of ranch.

10.)

The crest is a raindrop, a snowflake, a cloud, and a gust of wind, arranged beneath a golden sun with a big red barred circle over it. Newfoundland and Labrador: “The Sun Is Illegal Here.”

Alright, that’s all I’ve got right now. Put this down and go enjoy summer you crazy kids.

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