Manitoba Public Insurance revoked Star Trek-themed licence plate.
Nicholas Troller is a big fan of Star Trek. He applied for the personalized licence plate with the phrase "ASIMIL8" and he received approval.
He installed it on his car together with a licence plate holder that reads "We are the Borg" and "Resistance is futile." These two phrases are a reference to a fictitious alien race from the series.
Several years after, this information became known to Manitoba Public Insurance. A woman from Ontario posted a photo with this Star Trek-themed licence plate to her Facebook and she criticized the owner for being offensive to Indigenous people.
On that day MPI decided to revoke the plate. The representative of the organization explained that approving the licence plate did not follow MPI procedures and required immediate action. He also announced that measures would be taken for all people who participated in the approval of the plate.
Nicholas Troller had to go to the court to defend his rights. James Kitchen, who was Troller’s attorney, insisted that the decision to revoke the license plate was a violation of Troller’s freedom of speech. He added that it was just a phrase without any bad meaning.
However, Crown lawyer Charles Murray did not fully agree. He explained that there are cases when freedom of speech is not appropriate. If Nicholas Troller did not have bad intentions creating the plate, then other people can believe that the government endorses Troller’s message as being alright. They can decide that now everything is permissible.
Murray also added that Troller can use lots of other means to show his love for Star Trek. However, this one is not acceptable.
The judge has not made his decision on this issue yet.