Plate spat could trigger ‘trade war’ with Saskatchewan, Alberta minister says – Edmonton

Alberta’s Economic Development Minister continues to bait Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall while promising a court fight after Wall banned Alberta licence plates on road construction sites.

Deron Bilous called the ban desperate and a violation of interprovincial free trade rules.

“You’ve got Brad Wall, who is a premier who is quite desperate to change the channel from his bad for business budget … and so they’ve decided to come after Alberta and Alberta workers,” Bilous said in an interview Thursday with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“It’s quite absurd, when you think about it. Alberta’s economy is bigger than both B.C. and Saskatchewan’s combined, so starting a trade war with your bigger, older brother is never a wise thing to do.”

Bilous reiterated his promise to launch a legal challenge. If Saskatchewan fails to rescind the restriction within the week, Alberta will be filing the necessary court papers, he said.

‘They’re going to lose this fight’

“I’ve called on Brad Wall to smarten up and kill this ridiculous and discriminatory restriction and within six days, and if Saskatchewan chooses not to, we’ll be taking them to court,” said Bilous.

“They’re going to lose this fight.”

On Wednesday, the province of Saskatchewan announced that it is banning workers with Alberta plates from all new road projects.

The Ministry of Highways said it is singling out Alberta because Saskatchewan workers in Alberta feel forced to register their vehicles in order to work there.

“Saskatchewan operators feel forced to register their vehicles in Alberta if they want to do business there,” said Saskatchewan Infrastructure Minister David Marit on Wednesday. “Today’s announcement just levels the playing field.”

The ban only applies to Alberta. All other Canadian licence plates are welcome on new road construction sites in Saskatchewan. Existing projects will not be affected.

‘They’re going to go after Alberta…

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