A either nerdy or offensive license plate—depends where you sit—may be at the centre of a future court battle and, yes, if you were wondering, everything is dumb about it.
OK, to start we need to talk Star Trek—I've never watched the show, please don't @ me for this watered down explainer, you nerds—so within the show there was a popular storyline about something called the Borg. The Borg's mantra was "resistance is futile" and they wanted people to assimilate into their collective and what not. If you weren't aware, it seems that some people out there really, really like this show.
So, now moving from Hollywood to Winnipeg, a Star Trek fan named Nick Troller has had a plate for several years that says "ASIMIL8"—something that he thought was an obvious homage to a favourite show of his. Troller even had a "resistance is futile" plate bracket surrounding it.
If you've existed at all in the modern day political climate you'll understand how some people who are—rightfully—sensitive to the rise of normalized racism, saw Troller's plate as problematic. Seeing the plate as a problem some people complained and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) told Troller he had to get rid of it.
"What is this world coming to where our individuality and creativity is being questioned and scrutinized for the littlest things like a personal license plate," Troller said in a Facebook post in April. "Mine makes reference to the iconic TV show Star Trek Voyager."
(Editor's nerdy note: Really, Voyager? The second-worst Trek show? The Borg were introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation second-season episode "Q Who?" and "The Best of Both Worlds" is a legit GOAT Trek episode. Voyager ruined the Borg. @ me, man.)
Troller has since relented to the pressure and gotten rid of the plate for one that says "COLECTV"—the plate still has the bracket sporting the "resistance is futile" saying.
Now, in this hyper-partisan time where everyone is either a racist or an SJW and we all hate each other with the burning passion of eight pissed off suns, it's no wonder that Troller's license plate has become an issue and that people on both sides have seized upon it. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is known for taking people to court for denying anti-abortion activists a voice and other free speech issues, now—after advocating for Troller initially—may be taking the case to court.
Their initial demand was that MPI reinstate this plate by June 29th, something that did not happen. In an interview with CTV, a spokesman JCCF said they will be taking a legal route with the argument that MPI has violated Troller's freedom of expression. In the initial letter sent to MPI in May, the JCCF said that it was "improper and unreasonable" of MPI to, after Troller went through the proper paperwork, cancel the plate over a complaint.
"Had you considered the matter carefully, any concern over whether the complaint is 'offensive' could have been resolved by a simple explanation and a recitation of MPI's obligation to uphold Charter rights," reads the letter.
This isn't even the only case this year of a license plate seizing national headlines. Earlier this year a man with the unfortunate last name of "Grabher" had his vanity plate sporting the name revoked after it was deemed offensive. Lorne Grabher will be going to court with the JCCF as well at the beginning of 2018.
So, if you're ever wondering how we Canadians are doing, know that, more likely than not, we're just up here arguing about license plates up.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.