Political correctness can sometimes take bizarre turns. But a story in the Toronto Star about a Star Trek fan in Winnipeg and his personalized license plate will probably be on everyone top ten list.

A couple of years ago a man named Nick Troller acquired a license plate that read “ASIMIL8” and placed it in a frame that read across the top “We are the Borg” and across the bottom “Resistance is Futile.” For the most part, public reaction was positive with fellow Star Trek fans complimenting him and even getting pictures taken with the plate.

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Then Troller got a call from Manitoba Public Insurance from which he had gotten the plate and was told that it had received complaints from two people who felt that the plate was offensive to Canada’s indigenous people. He also received a letter demanding that he surrender the plate in exchange for another personalized plate or a $100 refund. Since license plates are the property of the crown there is no appeals process.

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In Canada, just as in the United States, more and more people are becoming intolerant of free expression and are becoming hypersensitive to anything that might offend anyone. It is clear to any thinking person that Troller’s license plate was a reference to a group of Star Trek villains who travel the galaxy assimilating entire races into their collective hive mind. In no way was it directed at Canada’s First Nations or that country’s unfortunate record regarding forced assimilation of the same.

Canada is hobbled by the fact that, unlike in the United States, freedom of expression is only implied and not in a written constitution. For that reason, the government has more power to suppress any kind of speech that it deems to be offensive.

To be sure, license plate controversies are not unknown in the United States. The state of Texas prohibited displaying the Confederate battle flag on license plates, the theory being that it invoked racism and slavery.

The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court which decided five to four in favor of the ban on the grounds that license plates represented “government speech” and not personal expression. As in Canada, license plates are property of the government.

In the meantime, Manitoba Public Insurance is conducting an investigation as to why the Borg “ASIMIL8” license plate was approved to begin with.

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Some unfortunate bureaucrat will, no doubt, be subjected to harsh discipline and reeducation about what should or should not be displayed on Canadian motor vehicles.

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