May 31st, 2017
WINNIPEG: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) today announced it has written a demand letter to Manitoba Public Insurance (“MPI”), which took away the Star Trek-themed personalized licence plate of Nicholas Troller based on accusations of it being “offensive”.
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. MPI approved his application and issued the plate. Mr. Troller installed the plate on his family vehicle, along with a licence plate border that stated “WE ARE THE BORG” and “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE”. The plate and accompanying border are a reference to Star Trek.
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.
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.
“Had you considered the matter carefully, any concern about whether the Plate is ‘offensive’ could have been resolved by a simple explanation and a recitation of MPI’s obligation to uphold Charter rights. Your actions in handling this matter are unjustifiable in Canada’s free society,” stated Justice Centre lawyer Jay Cameron, who serves as Counsel for Mr. Troller.
The letter requests that MPI reinstate Mr. Troller’s personalized licence plate no later than June 9, 2017.
“If by June 9, 2017, you have not reinstated the Plate, or provided us with written confirmation evidencing your commitment to doing so, our client will have no choice but to take further steps to assert his legal rights,” concludes the Justice Centre’s letter to MPI.