August 8, 2007
Clown prince of federal politics takes a run at electoral rules; Rhino Party activist says $1,000 deposit for candidates is unconstitutional
Brian Salmi, a wannabe Rhinoceros Party candidate, dresses like a clown.
His lawyer is Bugs Bunny – albeit a stuffed version of the cartoon character.
But Salmi, a Thunder Bay, Ont., native, is serious – at least, as serious as a guy with a toilet-paper roll strapped to his forehead like a rhino’s horn can be – about the claim he filed yesterday in Federal Court, asking that the $1,000 deposit required from anyone wishing to run for federal political office be scrapped.
Salmi, who has legally changed his name to Sa Tan – as in the devil – contends the requirement violates Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which says: “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.” While the deposit can be reimbursed regardless of the number of votes won and if the proper forms are filled out, many Canadians can’t afford the $1,000 in the first place, he said yesterday outside Federal Court.
In his claim, Sa Tan is also asking that a $50-million fund be set up to help political parties that were deregistered after 1993 amendments to the Election Act that aimed to get rid of fringe parties, like the Rhinoceros Party.
The $50 million, he said, should be collected by clawing back the pensions of members of Parliament as a “punishment for voting for this malicious attack on the most sacred right a Canadian citizen has, and from the salaries of all members of Parliament, present and future (as a deterrent against ever again attempting to violate the most sacred right a Canadian citizen has).” Sa Tan says that he intends to run in the Outremont federal by-election on Sept. 17, even though he is a self-described “unitard who doesn’t speak French.” He has until Aug. 27 to register for that vote.