‘There will be consequences’ — Licence plate skirmish continues

The clock is ticking for Saskatchewan to roll back its new rules for Alberta contractors, or “there will be consequences.”

Alberta Trade Minister Deron Bilous issued that warning Thursday morning.

Bilous wouldn’t expand on what the consequences might be, saying only “Talk to me in six days.”

He said he has been left to communicate through the media because neither the trade nor transport ministers in Saskatchewan are picking up the phone or returning calls to discuss the matter.

It’s the latest in an ongoing licence plate fracas between the two provinces.

The battle erupted Wednesday when Saskatchewan’s Transport Minister Dave Marit announced all Alberta contractors working on highway sites in his province would require Saskatchewan licence plates on their vehicles.

Marit said he was “levelling the playing field” because Albertans don’t have to pay a provincial sales tax. He also said he’d heard rumours that Saskatchewan contractors were being barred from Alberta sites because they didn’t have Wild Rose Country plates.

Bilous said Wednesday there was no such rule or direction requiring Saskatchewan contractors to get Alberta plates. He confirmed that again Thursday, saying he reached out to road builders and heavy construction associations to make sure.

He said it was “ridiculous” for Saskatchewan to try and punish Alberta workers because this province doesn’t have a provincial sale tax.

Bilous is adamant the change is a clear contravention of the New West Partnership free trade agreement between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“Their accusations have no merit (and) … I am 100 per cent confident Alberta will win this dispute,” Bilous said.

“They know they have no leg to stand on. It’s foolish for Saskatchewan to be picking a fight they know they can’t win with Alberta.”

Saskatchewan recently came after Alberta when the government here changed rules around beer taxes, saying it …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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