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Manitoba man fighting in court to be allowed Star Trek licence plate

To Boldly Go
To Boldly Go

A lawyer representing Manitoba says a “Star Trek” fan wasn’t allowed to keep his personalized ASIMIL8 licence plate because the word cannot be dissociated from the history of forced assimilation of Indigenous people in the province.

Manitoba Justice lawyer Charles Murray told court Monday that licence plates are owned and issued by Manitoba Public Insurance, and the insurer cannot be divorced from a historical context of “cultural genocide.”

Assimilate, whether in the sense of a fictional alien race or the real history of Indigenous people in Canada, is “talking about wiping out the uniqueness of people,” Murray said.


The legal challenge against MPI was launched by Winnipeg’s Nick Troller over the Crown corporation’s decision to revoke his personalized plate in 2017.


Troller is an avid fan of the “Star Trek” TV franchise and in 2015 got the plate with the well-known words from the alien race the Borg. He put the ASIMIL8 plate in a border that stated: “We are the Borg” and “Resistance is futile.”

James Kitchen, lawyer for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, argued on behalf of Troller. Kitchen told court that Troller drove around for nearly two years with the plate on his vehicle without any complaints. In fact, Kitchen said, many people asked Troller for photos with the plate.

“The word assimilate is just a word,” the lawyer argued.

That changed on April 22, 2017, when a woman from Ontario posted a photo of the plate on Facebook and complained to MPI that the plate was offensive because of the history of government assimilation policies.

The judge reserved his decision.

The word assimilate is just a word.

Lawy James Kitchen

Documents filed in court show multiple emails between MPI officials trying to understand how the licence plate was approved in the first plate.

Updated: April 9, 2019 06:40 PM

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