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This Man's Star Trek Inspired License Plate Was Deemed Too "Offensive"

Manitoba says "ASIMIL8" could be offensive because of Canada's history of forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples.

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A Winnipeg man's Star Trek-themed license plate is being recalled for its "offensive" message.

CTV News / Via ctvnews.ca

Nick Troller told CTV News he got his "ASIMIL8" license plate in honour of his favourite TV show, and that he's had it for two years without any problems.

Troller said the plate is only a reference to what the Borg say on the show, which is that all their enemies will be "assimilated."

The vanity plate's frame also includes the words "We are the Borg" and "Resistance is futile."

This week, however, Troller got a letter from the Manitoba government insurance company saying there had been a complaint about his license plate.

Nick Troller / Facebook / Via Facebook: nick.troller.7

"It has been brought to the attention of this office that the personalized license plate 'ASIMIL8' is considered offensive," reads the letter, instructing Troller to hand in his license plate by May 1.

A Manitoba Public Insurance spokesperson told BuzzFeed Canada the complaint was about how the license plate could be viewed as an endorsement of Canada's mistreatment of Indigenous peoples.

For many decades, Canada followed a policy of "aggressive assimilation" that sought to erase the cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples. The starkest example of this was the residential school system, which saw 150,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children forcibly relocated from their communities and educated in state-sanctioned religious schools where sexual and physical abuse was rampant. Some have even called it "cultural genocide."

Troller, however, says he doesn't see the connection between his license plate and those historical abuses.

"What is this world coming to where our individuality and creativity is being questioned and scrutinized for the littlest things like a personal license plate," he wrote on Facebook.

facebook.com

Troller said he's gotten many compliments for his license plate from fellow Trekkies, but that it's now being revoked after Manitoba Public Insurance received two complaints.

BuzzFeed Canada reached out to Troller for comment.

Troller isn't the only one to feel the wrath of his local license plate registrar. Earlier this year, a Nova Scotia man named Lorne Grabher was told to turn in his custom GRABHER plate after people complained that it promoted sexual assault.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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