Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Tory Leadership Candidates Eye Revisiting Great Licence Plate Debate

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Tory Leadership Candidates Eye Revisiting Great Licence Plate Debate

Article excerpt

Tory candidates to revisit new licence plates

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EDMONTON - Alberta's great plate debate is far from over.

The three candidates vying to become the next Progressive Conservative party leader and premier said Thursday they want to revisit the current online voting competition to pick the province's next licence plate.

"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," said Jim Prentice.

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

Just over a week ago, the province launched an online competition allowing Albertans to pick a new licence plate to replace the current red on white model.

Voters can pick from three designs, all created by the U.S. conglomerate 3M. Each is a variation on the same theme: prairie landscape in the foreground, mountains in the background.

Voters have until Aug. 19 to pick their favourite.

The competition has been criticized because the current slogan on the plate "Wild Rose County" has been taken off and replaced by the web address alberta.ca.

The Opposition Wildrose Party, blood foes of the governing Tories, call the slogan removal a petty and politically motivated slight, something Service Alberta Minister Doug Griffiths has denied.

Local designers have also said they want a say on the plate. One Edmonton firm has already submitted its version, complete with the mountain tops soaring in a jagged cut along the top.

The Wildrose Party has already launched online campaigns for a new slogan and a new design.

PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk said the Alberta plate needs Alberta designers.

"I would probably put the brakes on it (the competition) and give Albertans more input," said Lukaszuk. "I would like to see more artistic input. …

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