‘Obviously inappropriate:’ Insurer exec shocked ASIMIL8 plate was ever issued

Nick Troller filed a legal challenge against MPI over its decision to revoke the personalized plate

Documents from a legal challenge by a “Star Trek” fan who had his personalized ASIMIL8 licence plate revoked show a Manitoba Public Insurance senior executive was shocked the plate was ever issued at a time when reconciliation with Indigenous people was coming to the forefront.

The email from vice-president Keith Ward to registrar of motor vehicles Carla Hocken on April 24, 2017, said approving the licence plate did not follow MPI procedures and required immediate action.

“We are considering serious disciplinary action for those who were involved and contributed to approving a plate that is so obviously inappropriate at a time when there was significant media coverage about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, etc,” Ward wrote.

“This is a very serious lack of judgment for those who were involved in doing the research and/or approving the plate for issue.”

Nick Troller filed a legal challenge against MPI over its decision to revoke the personalized plate.

Troller is an avid fan of the “Star Trek” TV franchise and in 2015 got the plate which features a well-known saying by the alien race the Borg. He put the ASIMIL8 plate in a border that stated:, “We are the Borg” and “Resistance is futile.”

In a recently filed legal brief, Troller explained that he drove around with the plate for nearly two years and no one complained. He renewed it with MPI in 2016 without issue.

An Ontario woman posted a photo of the licence plate on Facebook on April 22, 2017. Court filings show a transcript of a call she made to MPI in which she said the plate was offensive because of the history of government assimilation policies.

Court documents show that after the complaint was made, there was a flurry of emails between MPI officials trying to understand how the licence plate was approved in the first place.

Plates are denied for a variety of reasons, including if they are offensive, suggestive, discriminatory or include racial or ethnic slang. Since they are the property of the Crown, they can be recalled at any time.

The ASIMIL8 plate was considered by a five-person committee, internet searches were done on its meaning and it was issued without any concerns.

In another email, Ward said, “the process here did not work.”

Troller was contacted and told his plate was deemed inappropriate and was being recalled. Troller is arguing MPI’s decision to revoke the plate is a violation of his charter-protected right to free expression.

MPI did not comment on the filings because the case is before the courts.

The documents include a 47-page list of licence plates that were denied by MPI. They include BITE ME, VINO, MMMBEER, SKODEN, HYZNBRG, HOLYCOW, PWALKER and 50 GREY.

A man in Nova Scotia has also gone to court over a personalized licence plate. Lorne Grabher has been trying to reinstate his “GRABHER” plate since it was revoked in 2016 by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles following an anonymous complaint.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Oak Bay bylaw supports planting 5,000 new trees

Residents can share thoughts on new tree protection bylaw at Jan. 29 open house

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read