The Ford government now wants to scrap the front license plate on Ontario vehicles. According to a report by CBC, Ford’s government is mulling over the option for "fiscal reasons" - Ontario's Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Bill Walker, reveals that analysis is underway to determine if the removal of the plates will benefit "the people." The controversial decision sparked backlash from provincial police members, who believe that the removal of the front plate could hinder their ability to catch criminals.
"If you eliminate half the license plates in the province you'll eliminate half the opportunities for us to be able to identify people involved in crime," detailed executive director Jeff McGuire of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to CBC.
According to McGuire, the overall cost of enforcing two plates is worth it because it increases the chances of solving various crimes, such as hit and runs and amber alerts. Officers rely heavily on video footage from various sources when trying to identify their suspect's vehicles; the removal of the second plate could hinder that process.
Despite the backlash from police, many Ontarians support the measure with some even going as far as to start a petition online in an effort to help move the decision along:
“…eliminating the need for a front license plate will significantly reduce the Province's costs associated with production, storage, and accounting for the additional plate. In 2004 the province of Saskatchewan joined five other Provinces and three territories who no longer require a front license plate - reportedly saving the government $370 000 per year, while helping to reduce insurance costs,” reads an excerpt from the petition, which has over 12,000 signatures.
The government’s other party leaders appeared to be split on the issue with Liberal Leader John Fraser calling the move unnecessary, urging the government to instead focus on the problems of education and health care. However, the Green Party was in support of the decision, citing its potential to save money and resources for the province.
The decision to remove the front plate is undoubtedly a tough call. On the one hand, Ontario is one of the last provinces not to remove the plate and could stand to benefit financially from its removal. However, its effect on police work is also undeniable, leaving no room for a win-win situation.