Saskatchewan wants to move Alberta 'plategate' summit to Medicine Hat
Alberta economic development minister wants meeting to remain in Lloydminster
The Saskatchewan government has offered to meet with Alberta about the licence plate dispute between the provinces on Jan. 31, but it wants the summit moved to Medicine Hat.
The meeting was originally slated to take place in the border city of Lloydminster, where it would be hosted by the local heavy construction association.
Alberta Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous is opposing Saskatchewan's request to move the meeting.
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"What was agreed upon was Lloyd[minster]," Bilous said Monday. "This is the community that is most impacted by these restrictions of Saskatchewan's.
"I think it would be valuable, frankly, for Saskatchewan ministers to hear from a construction association that has members on both sides of the border how this is impacting them."
The disagreement over location is the latest skirmish in a battle that started in early December.
The Saskatchewan government claimed residents were being forced to register their vehicles' plates to work on Alberta construction sites.
So they introduced a retaliatory requirement for Alberta construction workers to get Saskatchewan plates to work on road projects on their side of the border.
Bilous and Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason said they could find no evidence of what Saskatchewan was alleging.
They said their Saskatchewan counterparts, Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit and Economy Minister Steven Bonk, were unable to offer any specific examples when they spoke on the phone last month.
After giving Saskatchewan one week to drop the requirement, Alberta filed a complaint under the New West Partnership, a trade agreement among the four western provinces.
Saskatchewan could end the measure without penalty while the tribunal gathers evidence during a 30-day period, which ends Jan. 22.
After that, the matter goes to binding arbitration. The maximum penalty for violating the New West Partnership is $5 million.