N.S. man to pursue legal action over personalized licence plate
A war of words over letters on a licence plate continues to brew between a Nova Scotia man and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.N.S. man to pursue legal action over personalized licence plate
When Lorne Grabher was told he could no longer display his last name on his personalized licence plate, he felt stripped of his dignity.
"I do not want the government or the province to have the right to discriminate against anybody's name," says Grabher.
Moncton defence lawyer Wendell Maxwell can relate.
"Government wants to control our life in essence," says Maxwell.
He had a similar experience with New Brunswick's Registrar of Motor Vehicles over his plate that reads 'DUI DR.’ The case went all the way to the Court of Appeal, and Maxwell won.
"For one individual to be heavy handed and think that he could take my plates, I got my back up in the air and I said no way!" says Maxwell.
Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation doesn't want to comment on Lorne Grabher's case, but did say it comes down to a complaint that without proper context, the word 'GRABHER' comes across as promoting violence against women, and has been deemed socially unacceptable.
Now Grabher plans to pursue legal action against the province, and it won’t be the first case involving a vanity plate to be heard in court.
"Offense is a very subjective matter," says Michael Karanicolas, who works for the Centre for Law and Democracy in Halifax. He says the province may need to clarify its rules around offensive language.
"What you want is an objective law that you can apply equally to everybody and can set a generally applicable standard," says Karanicolas.
Grabher got the plate 25 years ago as a birthday gift for his father. He’s motivated to get his name back on his vehicle and has received an offer from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in Calgary to help him do just that.
Lorne Grabher's son lives in Alberta and has had no problem getting the plate registered.
“I can understand someone being offended by it, you know being upset with it, but just ask. Everyone in today’s society gotta be wrapped in bubble, everybody’s so sensitive about things, but it’s my family name,” says Troy Grabher.
Lorne Grabher is getting a lot of support from people across the country, and says he’s even heard from other Grabher’s living in Austria and the U.K.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl.