| Ministry not budging on controversial licence plate; Decision makes government look 'laughable,' says premierStratford Beacon-Herald Thu 06 Dec 2007 Page: 7 Section: News Byline: BY SUN MEDIA
A deaf man has heard a Sarnia woman's cry for help as she strives to obtain personalized licence plates for her dad in time for Christmas.
Danny Daniels says he'll donate his plates, which have the word "BUTCHY" emblazoned on them, to Suzanne Fitzgerald, provided the Ontario Ministry of Transportation will allow the transaction to take place.
Fitzgerald had planned to purchase plates reading "BUTCHY39" as a Christmas gift for her father, Tom "Butch" Cooper, who was born in 1939.
But the ministry turned down Fitzgerald's request, saying the word "butch" is sometimes used to refer to a lesbian.
It offered to refund the $237 she paid for the plates but not for six to eight weeks. As a result, she said, she doesn't have any money to get her father a Christmas present.
Daniels, a Whitby resident whose nickname is also "Butch," read about Fitzgerald's plight after she was interviewed by The Observer.
"It's ridiculous," said Daniels, an employee with the Canadian Hearing Society in Toronto and president of the Canadian Deaf Ice Hockey Federation.
The 51-year-old father of four applied for his plates in 1980, receiving them without incident. Today, they're attached to an old Pontiac Trans Am that's parked in the driveway of his home.
Despite their age, the plates are in good shape, he said.
"I felt for Suzanne Fitzgerald and I'll be happy to donate the licence plate to her dad for a Christmas gift," he said.
Fitzgerald said she'll gladly accept the gift, provided the province will let Daniels transfer their ownership to her father.
"That's so nice of him," she said.
She added she has received widespread support since going public with her predicament. "You would not believe it," she said.
She's also been bombarded with requests for media interviews since the story broke.
However, Ministry of Transportation wasn't budging Wednesday. It provided a list of special conditions under which certain types of plates can be transferred.
A spokesperson told The Observer it doesn't appear the rules allow a transfer from one individual to another unless there is a family connection.
"They're not related ... so they cannot be transferred," said Emna Dhahak.
That might leave Dalton McGuinty as the last hope. The Ontario premier intervened Wednesday in the case of Rev. Jo Sorrill, a Whitby minister whose application for new copies of the "REV JO" vanity plate was rejected because it promoted drinking and driving.
McGuinty said the decision made the government look "laughable" and promised to review the rules in the new year.
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