Vanity licence plates for vehicles have been a big hit in Canada. Paying somewhat more than one would for a regular plate, the vanity plates allow people to identify themselves or portray some message they like using combination of letters or letters and numbers.
Offered in provinces across Canada, the rules state there should be no profanity. hate, drug, criminal, or sexual references. They also shouldn’t have political reference
The latest instance is claimed to be a case of ‘political correctness’ gone too far. The plate may be interpreted as the saying Make America Great Again in support of a well-known campaign slogan used by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Previous cases of recalled plates include GRABHER in Nova Scotia, and ASSMAN in Saskatchewan, both claimed to be offensive to women, but contested by owners saying those are family names no matter how others choose to interpret them. Another case involves ASIMIL8, in Manitoba, a plate chosen by a Star Trek fan in reference to the “borg” but alleged to be offensive to First Nations. A decision on Lorne Grabher’s appeal of the Nova Scotia retraction of his plate may be expected at the end of this month.
In all cases, the plates were issued, but later due to a complaint (or complaints) to licensing bodies, were required to be handed back.
The latest case in Saskatchewan appears to make reference to politics in the U.S.
Rod Kletcho of Regina said at the time he applied for the vanity plate it could have a political connection, but also claims Magausa t is reference to an East Indian god, and is in Greek literature.
A CBC investigation found no such reference.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) the licensing body, says there were complaints and have demanded the plate be handed in.
Quoted by CBC Kletchko said, “Frankly, I’m offended that they’re offended,” Kletchko said. “They’re trying to use their political correctness in the wrong way.” He adds that freedom of expression is being lost over fears that someone might be offended.
Speaking to the Regina Leader Post, he noted,” if you assume that a licence plate means something because you choose to assume that, that’s up to you. I mean, if you choose to be offended, I’m offended that you’re choosing to be offended”.
SGI says he has 30 days to hand over the plate or it will be cancelled. They also say they made a mistake in issuing the plate in the first place and it he hands it back, they will reimburse him and give him a different personalized plate.
Kletchko says he’s still thinking about what course of action to take.