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Quebec gives green light to vanity licence plates

Motorists drive by a construction zone on the south shore of Montreal. Starting in September, 2015, Quebec will join every othr province in Canada, except Newfoundland and Labrador, in allowing vanity licence plates on vehicles.

GRAHAM HUGHES/The Globe and Mail

Quebec could be facing a bumper crop of vanity plates now that the provincial government has given the green light to the personalized licence tags.

Starting in September, 2015, Newfoundland and Labrador will be the only holdout to the plates as Quebec joins everywhere else in Canada in allowing them.

Vanity plates have long been a popular means of self-expression.

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Messages like "MMMBACON" and the self-explanatory "VNTYPL8" have been spotted in New York. One Florida car announced it was owned by a "GANGMBR."

But Quebec, famous for regulating language, will have a few restrictions on exactly what can grace the province's vehicles.

Nathalie Tremblay, the head of the Quebec auto insurance board, says drivers can use a word or a combination of up to seven letters or numbers as long as they're judged to be "respectful" and "appropriate."

Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault said first names are fine but forget using something like "Nazi" or "FLQ."

A list of prohibited words will be made available, he said.

The cost for getting a personalized plate will be between $100 and $250.

The government plans to offer public tenders for a firm to make the plates and Tremblay said it is premature to estimate how much could be made from the sales, which have been demanded by Quebecers for years.

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The board estimates that about 80,000 people might opt for the vanity plates. That's about 1.5 per cent of the province's six million vehicles.

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