(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

Red Deer will officially be the home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo

CFR has potential to bring in an economic impact of $20-30 million

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

What to do after online accounts are hacked

Facebook, email and other accounts hold vital information

PETA picking wrong bone with meat tax

Science shows vegetarian diet doesn’t lessen cancer risk

Rumsey Coyote Derby promises a lot of fun

Rumsey 4-H kids heading to beef congress

Erskine Professional Motocross Athlete appears in Edmonton

Chad Bauman performs as part of ‘Ground and Gravity’

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.