A plan by the Alberta government to drop a decades-old slogan from its licence plates has been receiving a negative response from residents who are demanding that the province’s lawmakers consult the public before rubberstamping a redesign.

Duelling polls, surveys and petitions illustrate growing discontent over the provincial government’s move to eliminate “Wild Rose Country” and replace it with “alberta.ca” – the government’s website address.

Lifelong Albertan Caitlyn Madlener started a petition on change.org to encourage the government to leave the slogan unchanged.

The new design is “generic” and uninspiring, Madlener says, unlike the current slogan, which pays homage to the Alberta’s heritage.

“It’s been on our licence plates for 30 years and honestly, it hasn’t bothered anyone,” Madlener said. “It’s what our province represents, it’s our provincial flower, it’s what we are.”

Madlener insists her petition is not politically motivated, and that people from all political stripes are adding their signature to it.

“It’s not necessarily a political party issue, it’s an Alberta issue,” she said.

But one political party is being vocal in its opposition to the incoming change.

The Wildrose Party, Alberta’s official opposition, is accusing the government of only dropping the slogan as a punishment to the party.

Wildrose is now conducting their own online poll, asking Albertans what they prefer: the current slogan, “Strong and Free,” “Alberta.ca” or “TravelAlberta.com.”

More than 7,000 people voted in the poll’s first 24 hours, with “Wild Rose Country” well in the lead.

Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson says more public input is needed before the redesign is finalized.

“I don’t have a problem with necessarily changing it, if that’s what Albertans want to do, but give Albertans the choice,” Anderson said. “And if we do change it, let’s change it to something that’s catchy and representative of ourselves.”

The government is also polling Albertans online for their preferred plate, though none of the options include “Wild Rose Country.” Instead, the design options are variations on the landscape background being planned for the new plates.

Some experts say the government is making the change unnecessarily complicated.

“They did need a new licence plate that would give greater access to the police, that’s fine, but coming up with different colours and different slogans, I think is a waste of time,” says Duane Bratt, a policy studies professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.

If the province plans to make any design changes, it will have to take place fairly soon. The new plates are expected to adorn Alberta vehicles by next spring.

With a report by CTV Calgary’s Chris Epp