Readings — From the February 2018 issue

Registered Offender

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From an affidavit filed in November to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Canada, by Lorne Grabher, a resident of the province. The case is ongoing.

My father’s family immigrated to Canada in 1906 and is of Austrian-German heritage. We are proud of our surname: Grabher. Twenty-seven years ago, my family applied for a personalized license plate bearing my family’s surname. The plate was installed on my father’s vehicle and was an expression of family pride. Three generations of my family have used the plate: my father, my son, and myself.

In 2016, I was notified by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles that they had received a complaint about the plate. They informed me that my surname could be “misinterpreted” as a “socially unacceptable slogan.” The plate was canceled. I am insulted and humiliated to be informed that my good name is an offense. I am increasingly dismayed by the hypersensitivity of some people. Canada is not a country where a person gets to be offended by everything.

My surname has been singled out for censorship on the basis that it is “socially unacceptable.” Yet recent advertisements placed on Halifax Transit buses include the following: “Our minds are in the gutter”; “Be proud of your Dingle”; “Powerful sh*t.” Government-regulated Canadian place-names include: Dildo, Newfoundland; Blow Me Down Provincial Park, Newfoundland; Crotch Lake, Ontario.

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