HASH(0xbb1b14)

Debate over ‘GRABHER’ licence plate could be headed to court

Debate over plate could be headed to court

HALIFAX — The controversy over Lorne Grabher’s personalized licence plate, which reads “GRABHER,” could be settled in court now that a group of lawyers has decided to sue the Nova Scotia government.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms said Thursday it plans to file a court application later this month, saying the government officials were wrong to withdraw the man’s plate when they deemed it offensive to women. 

“We had hoped for a reasonable … response which would be to reinstate the plate,” said John Carpay, president of the Calgary-based lawyers group. “Instead we received a letter from the Nova Scotia government, which essentially invites us to sue them.”

Carpay says his group, which is dedicated to defending constitutional freedoms, wanted to take on Grabher’s case because it concerns free speech.

“If we have a right to free speech, then we do not have a right to be free from offence — you can’t have both.”

He said the unusual case appears to be part of a wider trend.

“Canadians are becoming increasingly less tolerant of free expression,” he said. “You have more and more people who believe that they have a legal right to go through life without seeing or without hearing things they find to be offensive.”

Last October, an anonymous person filed a complaint with Nova Scotia government, saying Grabher’s licence plate was offensive to women.

However, Grabher has said he feels discriminated against. The plate had been used by his family for 20 years without incident.

“You’re supposed to be brought up to respect yourself and respect where you came from,” Grabher said in an interview Thursday. “If they have this right to take that away from you, then you have no respect for yourself.”

Last month, Transport Department spokesman Brian Taylor said while the department understands Grabher is a surname with German roots, this context isn’t available to the general public who view the plate.

The personalized plate program, introduced in 1989, allows the province to refuse plates deemed offensive, socially unacceptable or in bad taste.

Grabher said his public image has been tarnished by the government’s move.

“I’m not a woman hater and I don’t promote violence against women. That’s what they got me labelled as.” 

Carpay said he expects to be in court later this summer or in the fall.

By Kieran Leavitt, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

‘Grief dreams’ can offer path for faster healing

Researchers presenting findings in Chilliwack of how to tap into dream power

Drugs, cash, Taser seized at Chilliwack suburban home

RCMP credit alert neighbours for prompting investigation that led to seizures in Eastern Hillsides

Chilliwack Giants and Valley Huskers strengthen ties

Chilliwack Minor Football’s midget team returns as a feeder for the junior football Huskers.

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for Chilliwack woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from local group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Knuckles coming to Chilliwack for Montreal Canadiens alumni game

Chris Nilan and Stephane Richer are the latest Habs alums to sign on for the fundraiser match.

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Semi rollover on Highway 3

Highway 3 is reduced to single-alternating lanes

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

Most Read