Submitted by MLA Pat Stier
Wild Rose Country.
As Albertans, we’ve proudly worn this slogan on our licence plates for decades. We identify with it. And when we travel across this country and continent, we’re proud to be identified with our famous symbol.
Recently, Albertans were shocked to learn the government would be redesigning our licence plates, and scrubbing Wild Rose Country and replacing it with Alberta.ca instead.
Columnists, commentators and political watchers agree: this is a jaded political move that will end up costing Albertans $16 million. Where will the money come from for these new plates? Straight from your pockets as you get asked for an extra $5 in registration fees to cover the costs.
But this is nothing new. We’ve seen this government use your tax dollars for partisan purposes for years. You’ve all seen the PC branded blue and orange “Building Alberta” signs littering the province. But this new licence plate initiative makes one wonder how far exactly the government would go to undermine taxpayers just to play petty, partisan politics.
It makes you wonder if they will replace the Wild Rose as our provincial flower now (maybe to the Dandelion??) And what of the Alberta Party – would the PC government undergo another plate change-up to remove Alberta.ca from our license plates, if they were to become a political threat?
The worst part about this entire ordeal, however, is that this proposal doesn’t reflect the clear will of Albertans. An online news poll showed 72 per cent of respondents wanted Wild Rose Country to stay on the plate. Wildrose launched its own poll, meanwhile, (since the government hasn’t), which showed nearly 65 per cent support for the Wild Rose Country logo staying. Both polls had thousands of respondents.
While the PC government has put the design question to a public vote, the slogan debate has remained off the table. Service Alberta Minister Doug Griffiths said he’d consider putting the slogan to a vote too, if Albertans showed a desire for it. Well, the verdict is in. Let’s hope he’s a man of his word.
Wildrose wholly supports the reflective coatings that will be on these new plates. They’ll make the numbers and letters easier to read for police and highway officials. If the people want it, a graphical redesign is fine too.
But when it comes to our slogan – Wild Rose Country – the will of Albertans is clear.
It should stay.