Truro man named Maskill had personalized licence plate refused

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Published Friday, April 26, 2019 10:32PM ADT


Last Updated Friday, April 26, 2019 10:59PM ADT

A day after a Nova Scotia judge reserved-decision in the case of Lorne Grabher, who’s fighting to get his personalized licence plate reinstated, we’ve learned he’s not alone.

A man in the Truro area has been watching the case closely, because he, too, has a name that officials won’t allow on a plate — and he wants to make sure no one else has to go through the same experience.

Tim Maskill has deep pride in his family name, and the history of military and public service behind it. Three generations of Maskills served in the Canadian military.

Maskill is a former volunteer firefighter.

When Maskill moved back to the province after some time in Saskatchewan, he decided to get a personalized Nova Scotia licence plate.

Last February, he filled out the application, paid the $107 fee and began waiting for his plate to arrive.

Instead, he got a letter saying his application was rejected.

Maskill called motor vehicles for more information.

“He said because my last name has ‘k-i-l-l’ as the last four letters, that it was offensive,” Maskill said.

Maskill did have his name on a plate before in Saskatchewan and says he didn’t encounter anyone who had a problem with it.

At first, he let it go, but the more he thought about it, the more upset he became and he’s not alone.

This week, Grabher’s case was In Nova Scotia Supreme Court — and in the headlines — in his ongoing bid to have his plate reinstated after it, too, was deemed offensive.

Grabher’s lawyer says cases like this are cropping up across the country, a sign that perhaps the way plates are approved should change.

“The law is supposed to be certain, when you have 66 pages of banned words that the government is censoring, that’s concerning, when a lot of those words are harmless,” said lawyer Jay Cameron.

For Maskill, it’s not about the plate, it’s about the fact the system for approving or rejecting an application seems arbitrary.

“If somebody’s gonna be denied, there should be a larger group of people have a look at that, and see if it should be the case or not,” Maskill said.

A spokesperson for Service Nova Scotia and the Registry of Motor Vehicles would only say today that the registrar has the ability to reject a request if it implies a word or phrase that may be considered offensive.

Maskill hasn’t decided yet how far he wants to take this, but he wants there to be some kind of change so other Nova Scotians don’t have the same experience. He’s also among those anxiously awaiting the decision in the Grabher case.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.





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