N.S. man not allowed to use 'Grabher' surname on licence plate
A Nova Scotia man is considering going to court after being told that he can no longer use a custom licence plate that features his last name.
Lorne Grabher recently learned that his province’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles would be taking away his custom “Grabher” plate after they received a complaint.
“Where does the province of Nova Scotia and this government have a person with that kind of power to discriminate against my name?” Grabher told CTV Atlantic.
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According to Grabher, he originally had the vanity plate made in 1991 for his father’s birthday as a way to proudly showcase their family name. The plate has since been used by three generations of Grabhers, including Lorne’s son in Alberta.
The name Grabher, of German origin, was always something his father wanted him to be proud of, he explained.
Grabher said he received a letter in December saying that the Registrar of Motor Vehicles would be not be renewing his plate.
“While I recognize this plate was issued as your last name, the public cannot be expected to know this and can misinterpret it as a socially unacceptable slogan,” said the letter from Janice Harland, director of road safety.
According to the registrar, certain slogans featuring socially unacceptable, offensive, or words and symbols that are “not in good taste” are not accepted on personalized licence plates. Grabher was unaware that the registrar has a 67-page list of words that are banned from personalized plates.
Lawyer Wendell Maxwell is encouraging Grabher to fight. Maxwell specializes in impaired driving cases. But when the province of New Brunswick denied his “DUI DR” vanity plate, the lawyer went to court -- and won.
“He should fight for his right to have his plate with his name on it," Maxwell said.
The whole issue has proven to be very emotional for Grabher’s son, Troy.
“Everyone’s so sensitive about things -- but it’s my family,” he said in an emotional interview from his Edmonton home.
The younger Grabher says he has no problems in Alberta, where his surname has graced his vehicle for years.
“My father was a very proud man,” the elder Grabher said. “He always instilled in us that we should be very proud of our name… and this hurts.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl