(Black Press files)

Man gives up ASIMIL8 licence plate, compares government to Star Trek’s Borg

Troller says he is being assimilated by the government bureaucracy, losing his freedom of expression

A “Star Trek” fan who had to give up a personalized licence plate says the Manitoba government is acting like a villain on the science fiction series.

Nick Troller is heading to court next month to try to regain his licence plate that bears the message “ASIMIL8.”

It was confiscated in April by the Crown-owned Manitoba Public Insurance after two Indigenous people complained the word “assimilate” is offensive because of the long history of government assimilation policies.

But Troller says his plate refers to the catchphrase “you will be assimilated’” that is used on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” by aliens called the Borg, who absorb their enemies into a hive-like collective.

RELATED: Stars and Star Trek

In an affidavit, Troller says he is being assimilated by the government bureaucracy and losing his freedom of expression.

“The irony of the rescission of my freedom of expression is not lost on me: I have been assimilated by the bureaucratic machine. The individualized expression on the plate has been subsumed and erased,” Troller’s affidavit reads.

“Like the Borg, MPI is vastly more powerful than I. And like the Borg, it feels no need to explain itself to the people in its path when it suddenly reverses course.”

In his affidavit, Troller says his licence plate was clearly tied to the “Star Trek” series. It was in a frame that contained other phrases from the Borg including “Resistance is futile” and “We are the Borg.”

Manitoba Public Insurance has not yet filed a response to the legal action, but has previously said that it retains the right to recall plates that might be considered offensive.

“The corporation’s position in this matter was clearly stated in the letter to the customer. With legal proceedings impending, Manitoba Public Insurance respectfully has no further comment to provide,” spokesperson Brian Smiley wrote in an email Monday.

According to MPI’s policy, licence plates can’t contain words, phrases or innuendoes that “may be considered offensive.” Even after they are issued, the plates can be recalled since they are the property of the Crown.

Troller’s case is similar to a legal battle over a personalized licence plate in Nova Scotia.

Lorne Grabher had his plate with the text “GRABHER” his last name, revoked after it was deemed offensive to women.

RELATED: Debate over ‘GRABHER’ licence plate could be headed to court

Both Grabher and Troller are being supported in their court cases by the Calgary-based non-profit Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

In its court application, Troller’s lawyer says the revocation of the licence plate contravenes the freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

An initial court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Aug. 16.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

MP Sorenson: New Year, New Beginning?

Economic outlook not so bright in coming months

Castor and District Ag. Society says it had successful 2018

Hosts Castor Fair, the Castor Rodeo, and farmers market

Snowfall adds some delay to morning commute

The QE2 and area road conditions in central Alberta were partly snow covered

Witness refuses to testify against John Savage

Preliminary hearing on Stettler man for second-degree murder halted, plea bargain made

Defending champions Team Scheidegger will fight to keep title

Stettler hosting 2019 Alberta Scotties provincial women’s bonspiel

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

WATCH: Team Alberta in Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Ponoka cowboy Vernon (Bud) Butterfield passes away

The Ponoka Stampede Association announced his passing Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Ponoka RCMP are looking for a missing man

Police say he may be in Drayton Valley and they are worried for his wellbeing

Dog dies saving B.C. family from burning home

Homeowners safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Most Read