'MASKILL' latest personalized licence plate rejected in N.S.
Published Friday, April 26, 2019 6:16PM EDT
A Nova Scotia man says the provincial government rejected his personalized licence plate application because the last four letters of his surname spell “kill.”
Volunteer firefighter Tim Maskill wanted his surname to appear on his licence plate to honour the three generations of Maskills who have served in the Canadian military.
Last February, he filled out an application, paid the $107 fee and waited for his plate to arrive. Instead, it was rejected for being offensive, he learned, because the last four letters of Maskill spell “kill.”
Maskill was shocked, particularly because he had a personalized licence plate with his surname displayed when he lived in Saskatchewan and no one complained.
He believes that the system for approving or rejecting a personalized licence plate application seems arbitrary and should be changed.
“If somebody’s going to be denied, there should be a larger group of people that have a look at that and see if it should be the case or not,” Maskill told CTV Atlantic.
Maskill is speaking out one day after final arguments were made in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in the case of a man named Lorne Grabher, whose surname was also deemed too offensive to appear on the licence plate of his car.
In 2016, Nova Scotia’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles revoked the plate after it received a complaint from a woman who said that it promoted hatred toward women. Grabher claims that the province is infringing upon his freedom of expression rights.
A spokesperson for Service Nova Scotia and the Registry of Motor Vehicles told CTV Atlantic that the registrar has the ability to reject a request if it includes a word or phrase that may be considered offensive.
But Grabher’s lawyer, Jay Cameron, told CTV Atlantic that cases like this are cropping up across the country and that the process should be modified.
“The law is supposed to be certain,” Cameron said. “When you have 66 pages of banned words that the government is censoring, that’s concerning when a lot of those words are harmless.”
The Nova Scotia men are not alone.
In February, Dave Assman (pronounced Oss-man) of Saskatchewan had a plate bearing his surname rejected, too, so he covered the entire rear-end of his truck with an enlarged decal version of the plate.
And earlier this month, a Star Trek fan in Manitoba took Manitoba Public Insurance to court after his “ASIMIL8” vanity plate was revoked for being too closely aligned with the province’s history of forcibly assimilating Indigenous people.