WINNIPEG: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) has confirmed it will proceed to file a court application against Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), after MPI refused to reinstate the personalized Star Trek-themed licence plate of Manitoba resident Nicholas Troller.
Mr. Troller, an enthusiast of the Star Trek TV series, applied and paid the required fee to receive the personalized licence plate “ASIMIL8” in 2015. Without objection or hesitation, MPI approved his application and issued the plate. Mr. Troller installed the plate on his family vehicle, with licence plate border stating “WE ARE THE BORG” and “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE,” referencing the Borg’s iconic phrase.
While displaying the plate over the past two years, Mr. Troller has been approached by many people commenting positively on it, and asking for pictures with it. The plate was renewed by MPI in 2016 without question or concern.
On April 27, 2017, Mr. Troller received a letter from MPI informing him that the plate “is considered offensive.” The letter does not say why the plate is considered offensive, or by whom. In its letter, MPI informed Mr. Troller that he had until May 1, 2017, to surrender his plate, and did not provide him any recourse to appeal its decision.
The Justice Centre wrote to MPI on May 29, 2017 demanding that it reinstate Mr. Troller’s licence plate. In its letter, the Justice Centre calls out MPI’s decision as “improper, unreasonable and capricious” as well as a violation of Mr. Troller’s Charter-protected right to freedom of expression. MPI waited till July 7, 2017 to respond to the Justice Centre’s demand, stating it was “unable to reinstate the plate as requested.”
“It’s unfortunate that the Manitoba government is leaving Mr. Troller with no alternative but to assert his legal rights in court,” stated lawyer and Justice Centre president John Carpay.