ALBERTA

New Alberta Licence Plates Cancelled: Prentice

09/18/2014 04:49 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:59 EDT
Government of Alberta

Any talk of new Alberta licence plates was silenced Thursday, when Premier Jim Prentice announced the Alberta government will cancel any further work on the designs.

The province held an online survey over the summer, giving residents a chance to vote for one of three designs.

But the decision to reinvent the plates and remove the "Wild Rose Country" slogan was never a popular one, with the Opposition Wildrose Party calling the slogan removal a petty and politically motivated slight, while the public agreed the designs were bland and a waste of money.

"Albertans want us to deal with priorities they have identified in health care, education, infrastructure and seniors. Changing the design of Alberta’s licence plates is not one of them. We are going to invest our time, effort and resources on the clearly identified priorities of Albertans," Prentice said Thursday in a news release.

Prentice says the $15 million it would have cost to produce and distribute new plates could be better used elsewhere.

In the run-up to the recent PC leadership election, then-candidate Prentice said he would consider what Albertans had to say, before deciding on the fate of the plates.

"Clearly it struck a nerve with Albertans and I think it's important if you're going to change symbols that you have a broadly based discussion with people and hear what they have to say about it," Prentice said in late July.

"I'm interested in hearing what people have to say and (would) make any decisions based on what I hear."

Thursday was the fourth consecutive day that Prentice — in his fourth day as premier — jettisoned baggage from former premier Alison Redford.

On Monday, Prentice announced a new cabinet that didn't include key Redford lieutenants such as former finance minister Doug Horner and former health minister Fred Horne.

On Tuesday, he announced the sale of government airplanes that were found to have been abused for personal gain by Redford.

On Wednesday, he announced that Gary Mar, a former PC cabinet minister receiving more than half a million dollars a year in salary and benefits as a trade envoy in Hong Kong, would not have his contract renewed.

On Thursday, along with the licence plates, he announced that he would hit the reset button on the fall session of the legislature.

The session will now start Nov. 17 with a speech from the throne.

With files from The Canadian Press.