Profanity Plates


Mr.Lorne Grabher of Nova Scotia is not allowed to keep his license plate, which simply has his last name on it. It was recently cancelled by the province’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). His son, who lives in Alberta, has the same license plate. So far, the Alberta government has not followed suit.

The RMV was notified after someone complained that the plate was misogynistic and violent towards women. They decided to cancel his plate as there was no clear way to indicate that it was his last name. A spokesperson explained that it is “in the public’s best interest to remove it from circulation.”

Local Halifax lawyer, Walter Thompson, is interested in civil liberties and has taken on Mr.Grabher’s case. He argues that explicit profanities and insults do not belong on licence plates, but as every word is open to be interpreted, we should not allow individual sensitivities to restrict Mr.Grabher’s freedom of speech. He believes an appropriate response would have been for the concerned person to talk to Mr.Grabher directly.

The issue has reached the ears of Parliament Hill, including Conservative MP Arnold Viersen who believes “political correctness is out of control.

This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the CCLA or PBSC.