The Lloydminster Construction Association says the Alberta licence plate ban on Government of Saskatchewan infrastructure projects came as “a shock.”
The ban will require construction companies from Alberta to register for a set of Saskatchewan license plates before beginning work. Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit said the move “levels the playing field.” Premier Brad Wall has doubled down on the statement.
“Well we won’t be backing off on it. First of all we think it doesn’t necessarily violate trade agreements because this is the treatment that our contractors get in Alberta. They’re asked to permit, they’re asked to plate. We think it’s fair to ask the same thing of Alberta.”
The LCA agrees with the Alberta Construction Association and Alberta Trade Minister Deron Bilous in saying they have never heard of a requirement to re-plate Saskatchewan construction vehicles on projects across the provincial border. President Cody Bexson says the ruling is not good for the Border City.
“It’s just another battle for Lloydminster. Everybody says it should be the best of both worlds, but lots of times Lloydminster gets the worst of both worlds. It’s the same instance here, we’re just going to have to abide by another set of rules.”
Bexson says that he has been in contact with Mayor Gerald Aalbers, who in turn contacted Lloydminster MLAs Coleen Young and Dr. Richard Starke to exchange ideas on rectifying the situation. He also believes there may be other motives for the decision.
“From my talk with the political people, they’re all saying it’s very political. A lot of it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with construction but that’s where it’s landed on the Saskatchewan side. I think some of the stuff that’s going on in Alberta with the beer and the alcohol sales to some of the comments made by the Premier’s office. I think this is a little bit of a retaliation.”
Bexson adds he believes that the situation is far from over. The Alberta Trade Minster has said they will be looking at a lawsuit if the ruling continues.