What’s in a licence plate slogan? Would replacing “Wild Rose Country” with “alberta.ca” still smell as sweet? With the reactions over the change in the Alberta licence plate, you would think the provincial government has declared war.
This week, the Progressive Conservative government announced that it will spend $15 million dollars producing new licence plates with a reflective coating designed to improve visibility and safety. The licence plates will have a new design and will replace the slogan “Wild Rose Country” with the captivating “alberta.ca”. If putting a url on the back of licence plates was a successful marketing strategy for facebook, then why shouldn’t it work for Alberta?
As with most meaningless and petty government actions, people are freaking out. The page where Albertans can vote for their preferred licence plate design has received more views than anything else the provincial government has posted. It’s unclear as to whether Alberta even needs a government at this point. Maybe they could get by with an official licence plate design committee.
Wildrose MP Rob Anderson said, “People are used to what it says and how it looks; when you have the government come out and say they’re going to change the plate to one of three alternatives that are frankly the most hideous designs, to take the slogan off and change the look and feel… and they’re doing it clearly for political purposes, that ticks people off”. How dare you change the plate to a hideous design? The current version with the distinctly 80’s font and the flower that looks like it was copied out of the oldest biology textbook at your high school is a masterpiece. Licence plates are sacred works of art that drivers can personalize with mind-bogglingly dumb vanity plates, varying degrees of paint scratches, and caked-on dirt.
Anderson added, “If they’re saying it’s not political — fine. They should put their money where their mouth is and put it to the people. Let them decide…Otherwise this is a crass political manoeuvre because they’re scared to death of the official opposition”. Because there really isn’t anything more politically threatening than changing the licence plate design.
The Wildrose party is the official opposition in Alberta, so one could see why Mr. Anderson would object to getting rid of the “Wild Rose Country” slogan. They’ve even set up their own poll to determine which slogan is preferred. “Wild Rose Country” is in first place, followed by “Strong and Free,” Alberta’s official motto. But are Albertans really free from the licence plate oppression forced upon them by their tyrannical overlords?
Anderson and others will be pleased to learn that the new slogan won’t be “Progressive Conservative Country,” but will feature the official website, alberta.ca, and one of three mountain range designs that the public can vote for. The designs are pretty bland (as a licence plate should be), but hideous? Oh no, I’ve been sucked into caring about licence plate designs.
I’m not the only one. There are those outside the Wildrose party who have more qualms about the design than the lack of a slogan. “There are three very similar designs and in many ways, there aren’t really any choices. They just say that these plates are better and don’t give any design rationale to go with it”, said Brandon Webber who started a change.org petition to keep the old plates. So, after you sign that petition against children working in clothing factories in Bangladesh, make sure you take a stand against ugly licence plate designs.