Provincial employees will be able to stick "Support Our Troops" decals on city vehicles, but it won't be mandatory, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach said Tuesday.

Stelmach said cabinet members have decided that making the decals available to employees will show support for Canadian troops in Afghanistan, without supporting the war itself.

Calgary councillors decided not to putthe decals on city vehicles after a contentious and emotional debate at city hall last week.

Council unanimously approved a plan by Mayor Dave Bronconnier to keep the stickers off city vehicles and instead sell them to the public to raise cash for military families.

That prompted Sean Burnand, the businessman offering the yellow-ribbon stickers, to withdraw his donation. He said he was disappointed that a simple gesture could become a political issue.

Ald. Helen Larocque argued the decals have become politicized and some city workers could equate them as a show of support for the war in Afghanistan. She was unsure of what would happen if a employee refused to drive a city vehicle because it had a "Support Our Troops" sticker.