Alberta issues ultimatum to Saskatchewan over licence plate ban

"The impact would be additional costs, and ultimately, that means fewer jobs and quite often Alberta firms doing work in Saskatchewan are hiring Saskatchewan tradespeople".

Alberta promised a court fight and mocked Saskatchewan's lagging economy following a move by its neighbour to the east to ban Alberta licence plates on future job sites.

Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit says the move announced Wednesday is in response to Alberta contractors telling him Saskatchewan plates are not welcome on Government of Alberta job sites. "Now they're going to have to have a Saskatchewan plate instead of an Alberta plate". Today's announcement just levels the playing field.

"(Saskatchewan Premier) Brad Wall needs to smarten up.

The restriction will only affect new contracts awarded by the ministry.

"Saskatchewan heavy construction contractors have been one of the largest employers in the province in good years and in bad", association president Shantel Lipp said in a release. That includes contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and workers. As local construction companies obtain a larger share of the Saskatchewan construction marketplace they develop the people, equipment and capacity to maximize their economies of scale.

Saskatchewan officials said staff at the province's Ministry of Infrastructure would enforce the ban through on-site monitoring.

"We're just asking Alberta contractors; this doesn't stop them from bidding on any jobs at all", Marit says.

There is no such rule, he said, and issued an ultimatum: Roll it back within a week, or Alberta will see you in court. All other Canadian licence plates are welcome on new road construction sites in Saskatchewan.

Wall's government has previously complained about new rules to assist Alberta's craft brewers that Saskatchewan calls unfair to out-of-province beer producers.

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