Why new plates?

If you haven’t already heard, Alberta is going to be getting new vehicle licence plates soon.

If you haven’t already heard, Alberta is going to be getting new vehicle licence plates soon.

Earlier this month, the government unveiled three designs Albertans will choose from to become Alberta’s new plate.

Voting will close Aug. 18th and the final design will be unveiled later in the fall.

But the new designs have a lot of Albertans upset, for a number of reasons. Among those reasons are the removal of the province’s slogan, the addition of the Government of Alberta web site, the $3 million cost to design the plates, the plates being designed by an American company and the additional $5 cost Albertans will have on their registration to pay for the new plates.

A lot of reasons to be upset and all of them understandable. Not only understandable, but justified.

First of all, it’s difficult to understand why Alberta needs new licence plates to begin with. What exactly was wrong with the old plates or the old design?

The government has tried to justify the need for the new plates by saying they have a special reflective coating that makes them easier to see in low-light conditions.

And the reasoning for removing the ‘Wild Rose Country’ slogan and replacing it with the government’s web site is that the province is adhering to a growing trend of other jurisdictions around the world to put government web sites on plates.

Right, sure, we all believe that.

We also have a number of bridges to sell you.

We are willing to believe, even if it is a bit of a stretch, that the high-visibility coating is a necessary safety feature that warrants new plates.

Removing the Wild Rose Country slogan and replacing it with a web address on the other hand is the most transparent of a political move that there is.

Let’s pretend for a minute that it really was necessary to have the Government of Alberta web site on our plates (just in case the multitude of search engines on the Internet simultaneously ceased to function), why exactly does the slogan need to go to make room for it?

Surely there is some designer who can figure out how to fit two lines of extra text on one plate.

Speaking of that, that brings up another point of contention.

Why exactly is the province paying $5 million to have these plates designed in the states?

In fact, one company in Edmonton was so uninspired by the possible designs the government unveiled (which are pretty ‘blah’), not to mention somewhat insulted they were not given the opportunity to submit their own ideas, they came up with their own unofficial design.

Frankly, we think the government should be doing something more than asking Albertans to vote on three sub-par design options.

For starters, why not an apology and maybe even a restart to this terribly executed plan?