Too Rude for the Road: Government Denies Use of ‘Offensive’ Last Name on License Plate

Halifax, NS

A citizen of Halifax, Canada has been told his last name is “too offensive to women” to be allowed on his auto license plate. This is despite the fact that officials have had no problem with the plate for years.

Years ago Lorne Grabher of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was awarded a personalized license plate emblazoned with his last name, but this month the motorist was abruptly informed his plate was canceled due to a “complaint” despite receiving permission for “GRABHER” plates on previous occasions.

Grabher insists that he is being discriminated against and the cancellation is unfair because Grabher is his name, not a nasty slogan.

The man noted that he has had the personalized plate for at least 25 years without any problems from the government in the past.

“This plate changed hands within the family 3 times with no issue but because one complaint was lodged, Ms. Director of Road Safety used her authority to cancel my plate,” Grabher said in a Facebook post. “I feel this is a total abuse of power by Ms. Director of Road Safety!

“Where does it state that my last name is considered a ‘slogan’ in the Motor Vehicle Act?”

A Transport Department official told the Associated Press that the government was standing behind its decision because people on the road would have no way to know that the plate stood for a person’s name instead of a nasty, anti-woman joke. And since officials already received one complaint, they are vindicated.

As with personalized plate programs in the U.S., officials in Nova Scotia can deny requests for words or phrases deemed to be in poor taste.

Grabher also noted that the government’s decision as all the more silly because his son in Alberta has a “Grabher” license plate, too.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at