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1993 – Thus, Mr. Salmi has proved that he is not really a political activist, not even a humorist, merely a vandal, attacking Canada’s democratic institutions for no purpose.

Vancouver Sun
March 18, 1993
A4
$1,000 election-deposit plan targets fringe parties
Peter O’Neil

OTTAWA – They promise reform schools for politicians, a month-long national holiday and a guaranteed annual orgasm.

But the 30-year-old Rhinoceros party faces extinction because of a bill before the House of Commons, says Rhino B.C. coordinator Brian (Godzilla) Salmi.

Bill C-114, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act, includes an increase in the deposit for candidates from $200 to $1,000. It is expected to be put for a final vote in the Commons next week.

The Rhinos have little hope of coming up with a minimum $50,000 to run candidates in at least 50 of the 295 ridings, Salmi said.

“This will force ordinary Canadians to rob banks in order to run for election in this country,” he said. “And we just might do it . . . I’m serious.”

Fringe parties like the Rhinos, the Christian Heritage party and the Green party took almost 300,000 votes in the 1988 federal election.

The Green party has written to the government to protest against the bill, and other small parties are also expressing outrage.

“It’s a slap in the face for democracy,” said Ed Vanwoudenberg of the Surrey-based Christian Heritage party, which ran 63 candidates in the 1988 election.

He said smaller parties and independent candidates have little chance of winning, but “they have something to say and they’re being shut out.”

“They seem intent on suppressing any sort of populism in the country,” said Toronto evangelist Ken Campbell, head of the Christian Freedom party of Canada.

“People want in and the ruling establishment does not want them in,” said Campbell, whose party is still registered as the Social Credit party of Canada.

Populist party for Canada leader Benjamin Bissett, who seeks tax and monetary reform, wants to run candidates for the first time in this year’s federal election.

But the “undemocratic” new legislation could get in the way, he said.

“Smaller parties won’t have a chance to get off the ground,” said Bissett, of Kelowna, B.C. “Canadians seem to be rapidly losing our democratic rights.”

Government House leader Harvie Andre didn’t dispute the Rhino charge that the government is trying to rid Canada of fringe parties.

“Yeah, I think elections are serious business,” Andre said. Elections are also more costly if more candidates are on the ballot, he said.

“If they (fringe parties) want to pay for that additional costs, that’s one thing. But to get a freebie at the costs of the taxpayers so they can have some fun, I’m not so sure.”

Tory MP Jim Hawkes, chair of the special committee on electoral reform, said the smaller parties are exaggerating the increase.

Half of the $1,000 deposit is refunded once candidates have sent proper documentation to Elections Canada. The other half is refundable in the unlikely event that a fringe candidate gets at least 15 per cent of the vote.

Hawkes points out that candidates can raise the money by issuing tax receipts that could give tax refunds of $75 for each $100 contribution.

The Rhinoceros party got 52,173 votes in the 1988 election, of which 41,062 came from Quebec.

Salmi, who got 173 votes in Vancouver South in 1988, said the party had big plans in this year’s elections. The party’s fund-raising efforts at events would be aimed at sending money to Africa to protect the real rhinoceros.

But he admits it’s probably too late to fight the legislation.

Bill C-114 “will do to Canada’s Rhinos what poachers will do to Africa’s Rhinos,” said Salmi. “Namely, make us extinct.”

The Province  (Vancouver)
March 18, 1993
Page A21
RHINOS SORE: Hike in candidate fee no joke
Don Hauka

The Rhinos say the Tories are trying to drive them to extinction.

And Rhinoceros party faithful are threatening drastic action if the government hikes the deposit a federal candidate must post.

“We may have to mug Tory bagmen if we want to run for office,” spokesrhino Brian (Godzilla) Salmi said yesterday.

Salmi said the Rhinos – Canada’s national humor party – may launch a Charter of Rights challenge to a proposed amendment to Bill C-114, the Elections Act, which would raise a candidate’s deposit from $200 to $1,000.

The bill has passed second reading in the House of Commons, and government House leader Harvie Andre is trying to push it through in time for the election later this year.

The bill has the support of the three major federal parties.

“I’m trying to find some humor in it,” Salmi said. “I wish I could wake up and find it’s a big practical joke the big parties are playing on us.”

Officials in Andre’s office said the bill is not anti- democratic.Candidates who file papers would get back half their deposit; those who get at least 15 per cent of the vote would get back the other half.

Globe and Mail
March 19, 1993
A1
Quote of the day

“C-114 will leave poor Canadians with two options if they want to run for office in this country: rob a bank or mug a Tory bagman.” – Rhinoceros Party spokesman Brian Salmi on Election Act amendments that propose increasing deposits to $1,000.

Globe and Mail
June 19, 1993
A2
Of politics, elections and handguns
Michael Valpy

The Rhinoceros Party belatedly has discovered that the Conservative government’s amendments to the Canada Elections Act (Bill C-114) proposes to increase candidate deposits from $200 to $1,000. This, says spokesman Brian (Godzilla) Salmi of Vancouver, means the Rhinos will have to put up $50,000 to get party status (a minimum of 50 candidates) in the next election.

“C-114 will leave poor Canadians with two options if they want to run for office in this country: rob a bank or mug a Tory bagman,” Mr. Salmi said yesterday. “In the interests of democracy we are seriously considering both options.”

The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform recommended that candidates post a performance guarantee of $1,000 which would be completely refunded if candidates filed their election expenses on time. The act’s amendments, however, would permit only half the deposit to be refunded – which ignores the commission’s statement that a non-refundable deposit is unfair.

Small parties such as the Rhinos, Greens and Christian Heritage will feel the burden. Mel Hurtig, leader of the National Party, which plans to run 200 candidates, said the change is not in accordance with the principles of democracy “but in our case, our cash flow is good.”

Vancouver Sun
March 26, 1993
Page A4
Canny Campbell outflanks her opponents
William Boei

This might be the story of the Tory leadership campaign: Kim Campbell outflanking her opponents.

Thursday’s opponents were the protesters who meant to confront Campbell as she arrived at the Hotel Vancouver to announce what everyone already knew: She wants Brian Mulroney’s job.

They never laid a glove on her.

Some didn’t even lay eyes on her.

You could see by 7:30 in the morning that Campbell’s campaign machine was in fine tune.

The hotel was abuzz with supporters. Brigades of smiling, clean-cut young Tories wearing cream-colored sweatshirts with KIM on the front lined the marble staircases, greeting arrivals and pointing them to the Pacific Ballroom, where they could buy Kim buttons, Kim sweatshirts and party memberships and join the hundreds of people gossiping and networking inside.

At the hotel’s south entrance, reporters were keeping an eye out for the expected protesters (the Greens and Rhinos had both said they’d be there) and watching the Porsches and Jaguars (also, one stately black Bentley and a gorgeous red convertible Rolls-Royce) unload one prominent Tory after another.

By 8 a.m., there were no protesters.

8:15 a.m.: A dozen or so trade unionists carrying yellow picket signs with anti-free trade slogans – including NAFTA SUCKS – take up position at the main doors.

“We’re here to protest the North American Free Trade Agreement,” says Dave Crain of the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport and General Workers. “We want to give Kim Campbell the message that if there were a referendum today, it would go the same way as the Oct. 26 (referendum) campaign went – down the tube.”

8:16: A group of sweatshirt brigadiers spills out of the hotel and begins to chant, “Kim, Kim, Kim.” Seconds later, Campbell pulls up in a mid-sized grey Oldsmobile, steps out and, with a few brisk strides, disappears through the protester-free baggage door.

She makes her ceremonious way to the ballroom, preceded by the chanting sweatshirt brigade and surrounded by a media scrum bristling with television cameras, sound booms and microphones.

8:19: The Rhinos arrive at the south doors, headed by Brian (Godzilla) Salmi, who’s wearing a fool’s cap and pretending he meant to be late. A few seconds later, a sheepish group of Greens joins in. Green party executive secretary Steve Kisby explains they were staking out the Georgia Street doors, on the opposite side of the hotel.

Both fringe parties want to protest against Bill C-114, which will raise federal election candidates’ deposits from $200 to $1,000 and refund them only half the amount unless they draw more than 15 per cent of the votes.

Kisby calls the bill “an attack against democracy,” adding: “We just want to make Kim aware of the seriousness of this.”

8:20: All three groups delegate members to guard the picket signs and the Rhinos’ collection of papier mache monsters. The rest head inside. As they near the ballroom, a group of large men in sweaters, several wearing earpieces, move into their path.

8:26: “You have to have a blue suit and a tie to get in,” a trade unionist grumbles.

9:05: The speech is finished and the protesters return to the south door, intending to catch Campbell on her way out. But Campbell is making her way to a series of interviews and news conferences that will run well past noon.

Outside, a phalanx of sweatshirt brigadiers jogs past the protesters, taunting them with the false information that Campbell is on her way out another door.

The protesters pack up their signs. By 10 a.m., they’ve all gone.

Vancouver Sun
April 22, 1993
A19
Government forces the Rhinos’ extinction
Brian Godzilla Salmi

When Dr. Jacques Ferron founded Canada’s legendary Rhinoceros Party in 1963 he choose the rhinoceros as a symbol because it is a thick-skinned, myopic, sluggish beast that likes to wallow in the mud, but moves quickly when it senses danger; simply put, rhinos make ideal politicians.

We at the Rhino Party sense grave danger in Bill C-114, the government’s proposed amendments to the Elections Act. In fact, C-114 will do to Canada’s Rhinos what poachers will do to Africa’s rhinos, namely, make us extinct.

Canadians of all political stripes have laughed at the satire of the Rhinos, but we can find nothing funny about this bill. One of the proposed amendments is to increase the deposit a candidate must pay from $200 to $1,000. In order to be recognized as an official political party, a party must field at least 60 candidates in an election. That’s $50,000 just to get on the ballot.

Kim Campbell has been talking about the “politics of inlucsion” quite a bit, lately, yet she is fulyl supports the move to exclude poor Canadians from running for opffice. In a letter to the Rhino Party, Campbell state “the increase will not deter serious candidates from seeking public office.”

Apparently, if you are too poor to cough up $1,000, you are not “serious” about politics.

It was also Campbell who said: “Cynicism is a cancer on the body politic,” and that she would change the way we “do politics.”

Her colleague, Government House Leader Harvie Andre, went a long way to feed that cancer on CBC Radio’s As It Happens recently by asking Canadians: “are you better served by a debate between two or three serious candidates . . . or by having a whole long list of candidates representing the whole range of views?”

Clearly, Mr. Andre thinks that democracy is best served by limiting debate, and keeping those citizens who are not “serious” off the ballot. Canada’s political establishment displayed exactly the same arrogance and paternalism during last year’s constitutional referendum with predictable results.

The other argument put forward by Mr. Andre in his defence of the indefensible is an economic one: “Elections are more costly if more candidates are on the ballot.”

It seems that his government doesn’t feel the electoral process should be used as “one more vehicle for fringe groups to get free publicity at the cost of the taxpayer.”

Simply put, the Tories can no longer allow Canadians the luxury of a democratic election in these troubled economic times. No doubt taxpayers would much rather increase Barbara McDougall’s bloated travel budget.

Mr. Andre goes on to assure us that “if you are a credible candidate, you can put down a modest deposit and run.” Apparently if you are too poor to lay down the $1,000 deposit you have nothing important to offer.

C-114 went through third and final reading in the House last Friday, despite attempts by the NDP to pass an amendment to lower the deposit. The Tories became more determined than ever to pass the bill after Mr. Andre’s embarrassing performance on As It Happens.

The bill is now on its way to the Senate, and I am less that confident that a bunch of appointed Senators, who come from privileged backgrounds, are going to stand up for a democratic principle that would benefit poor people.

Mel Hurtig, leader of the National Party, told the Globe & Mail that although C-114 runs contrary to democratic principles, “our cash flow is good.” Translation: “we’ve got ours, Jack, too bad about you.” Could it be that Citizen Mel hopes to pick up the protest vote left behind by fringe parties too poor to get on the ballot? Not exactly Robin Hood is it?

That protest vote is more substantial than most would think. In the 1988 federal election 584,521 Canadians voted for fringe parties or independent candidates. C-114 will, effectively, disenfranchise every one of those citizens.

To put that in perspective, consider that there were oly 540,941 Manitobans who voted in that election, and only Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and B.C. put more people to the polls than did Manitoba.

More than any other fringe party, the Rhinos have always been the last resort for Canadians who view politicians as pathological liars who will say and do anything to get elected. We, on the fringes of the electoral system, and all those who are alienated enough by mainstream parties to vote fo us, will be legislated into oblivion.

Famous democrats like Joseph Stalin and Idi Amin used guns and crocodiles to eliminate their opposition; the Tories are a little more subtle . . . but just as efficient.

Brian Salmi is the Lotusland Spokesrhino, Rhinoceros Party of Canada

The Province (Vancouver)
June 14, 1993
Page A6
Rhinos go a-planting
Shelly Easton

The Tories partied, the Rhinos planted.

About 25 pro-hemp activists yesterday took to a vacant lot in the 700-block of Granville Street in Vancouver, ceremoniously planting dozens of hemp seeds amid broken glass, rusted machinery and tall wildflowers.

The plant-in, part of the Rhinoceros party’s Lotusland Unconvention ’93, highlighted the party’s platform that hemp has a lot to offer.

“Hemp would do a lot of good for the environment,” said Rhino spokesman Brian “Godzilla” Salmi.

“It’s good for paper products, rope, and you can make fabric out of it,” he said. “We’re using hemp to swing from platform to platform.”

Serenaded by flute music, plant-in participants sang “O Cannibis” and received certificates pronouncing them official research associates for the hemp cultivation program by the Institute for Adversarial Irony.

Institute spokesman Ian Hunter said the protest would help dispell the myth of reefer madness.

“We’re trying to bring attention to the fact that in England and France and Australia, industrial hemp seeds have been approved for use. We’re not advocating smoking it, but we are in favor of decriminalizing it.”

Hunter even conferred an honorary research associate certificate on Canada’s newest prime minister, Kim Campbell.

“Unfortunately she was unable to make it today,” he quipped. “But I know that she would be here in spirit. “

Vancouver Sun
June 15, 1993
Page A5
Campbell gets mud-wrestling challenge

The Rhinoceros party has its head down and is ready to charge with bare-naked aggression in Vancouver Centre in the next federal election campaign.

The Rhinos’ candidate to oppose sitting member, Prime Minister-to-be Kim Campbell (she of the famous bare-shouldered photograph) is the more-than-equally-bare, exotic dancer Blondie Butler.

At a press conference Monday at the Flash One pub at the AustinHotel on Granville Street, Butler was kind to her opponent.

“I think she’s fun, she’s witty,” said the 13-year veteran stripper, who challenged Texas line-dancer Campbell to a mud wrestling match.

“She looks like the kind of gal who would get into that with me.”

Butler remained covered up during the interview, but the party’s new policies didn’t.

While Campbell is basking in the afterglow of her win in Ottawa, Butler, 32, laid bare some of her party’s platform:

* A National Cannibalism Day – an “environmental necessity,” to be held in February to relieve the winter doldrums. Leftovers could be recycled as potholders.

* Safe politics, where all politicians must wear condoms 24 hours a day to protect the public.

* Corporal rather than capital punishment with bottom whackings administered by the party’s whip, Mistress L.

* Protection of Brazilian rainforests by surrounding them with rhinos that would stamp out fires with their big feet.

A pre-press conference press release claimed that Butler’s outrageous show has resulted in several bars temporarily losing their licences.”

Rhino public relations official Brian (Godzilla) Salmi at “Lotusland Hindquarters” said, “Only a woman with Blondie’s skills can lead us through the turbulent times that lie ahead. Let the games begin.”

The Province (Vancouver)
July 7, 1993
A5
Godzilla, hindquarters lock horns over Blondie
Don Hauka

Lotusland Rhinos say the party’s over.

Rhino Brian (Godzilla) Salmi of Vancouver sparked a national- unity crisis yesterday when he announced the Lotusland wing was severing its ties with “hindquarters” in Montreal and forming a new party.

Salmi said HQ brass have taken exception to B.C.’s decision to put up stripper Blondie Butler, aspiring candidate for MP in Vancouver Centre, as their prime-ministerial candidate. A June 27 letter threatened legal action if B.C. used the Rhinoceros party name.

“No one was more floored than I was,” said Salmi. “It’s a disaster, but from the ashes, better things will rise — hopefully.”

But a “spokes-Rhino” from Montreal said there is no real splinter in the horn of the party.

“They are ersatz-Rhinos,” said a man who identified himself as “Party Janitor,” adding that Richard (The Troll) Schaller and Barry (The Enforcer) Height are official B.C. spokes-Rhinos — not Salmi.

As for Butler, P.J. said: “Ms. Butler is an American. This poses a problem, you know.”

The Province (Vancouver)
July 8, 1993
A8
Gloves off: `Kim’ vs. stripper
Don Hauka

A simmering feud in the Rhinoceros party boils down to a battle between the stripper and the Kim Campbell clones.

B.C. spokesrhino Barry (The Enforcer) Heidt says Rhino Hindquarters in Montreal isn’t impressed with a plan by the breakaway Lotusland branch to run stripper Blondie Butler in Vancouver Centre against Tory Prime Minister Kim Campbell.

“We didn’t want to do the stripper routine — it’s been done,” said Heidt.

In fact, the old-guard Rhinos have their own idea of whom to run against Kim Campbell — more Kim Campbells.

“We’re waiting for the five Kim Campbells we’ve approached to see what they want to do,” said Heidt.

And he says Canada’s silly party will carry on despite losing part of the herd to a new party.

Former Rhino Brian (Godzilla) Salmi said earlier the Lotusland Rhinos are forming their own party after the feud with Hindquarters erupted over Butler.

Salmi says the chip-off-the-old-horn’s name will be unveiled today.

“It’s time to move on,” said Salmi.

And Heidt agrees.

“He’s just a bit too serious for us,” said Heidt.

The Rhinos ran their candidate John Turner against former PM John Turner in Vancouver Quadra in 1988.

The Province (Vancouver)
July 12, 1993
Page A6
Bad gnus, folks: Party’s over for Rhinos
Shane McCune

The recent split in the Rhino herd over the matter of a stripper’s candidacy is a bad-news, good-news scenario.

It’s depressing to realize that even the thick-skinned Rhinos, who have withstood big-bore salvos from establishment political parties for a decade and a half, may have finally fallen prey to the blowdarts of politically correct pygmies.

On the other hoof, we now have both the Rhinoceros party and the Gnu Democratic Rhino Reform party — two political parodies where last week there was only one. (Gordon Wilson, Audrey McLaughlin and Preston Manning are not intentionally funny, so they don’t count.)

The split came about when Rhino Hindquarters in Montreal ix- nayed the Lotusland wing’s plan to run stripper Blondie Butler in Prime Minister Kim Campbell’s riding of Vancouver Centre. The easterners even threatened to sue the B.C. rebels if they used the Rhino name.

Montreal rhino Charlie the Janitor told The Province that Butler’s candidacy was rejected because she is an American citizen, which means she can’t vote, let alone be elected.

But this makes even less sense than most Rhino statements, because no Rhino has ever been elected in Canada (though some have come alarmingly close) — and no true Rhino would want to be elected. That’s what real, unfunny politicians do.

B.C. spokesrhino Barry (The Enforcer) Heidt said the party didn’t want to run a stripper because “it’s been done.”

But his alternative is to run up to five Kim Campbells against the PM — a ploy the Rhinos used in 1988 when they ran a John Turner against then-Liberal leader John Turner in Vancouver Quadra. The Rhino Turner drew 780 votes, placing fifth.

(In the 1970s a bogus Tom Campbell ran against the Vancouver mayor of that name. It was a lame gimmick even then, especially coming on the heels, as it were, of a brilliant tap-dancing campaign by Mr. Peanut.)

No, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the mainstream Rhinos are caving in to indignant mutterings from PC types, especially feminists, who disapprove of strippers. And as if a stripper was just too much, the cheeky B.C. Rhinos also spoke of adding to the ticket Mistress Elle, a buxom dominatrix who would, naturally, be named party whip.

Sure, it’s been done. But who better than a stripper to run against Our Lady of the Clavicles? Accepting — and openly admiring – – Campbell’s superiority as an orator and debater, Butler has challenged the PM to a mud-wrestling contest.

(It would probably be the safest, cleanest mudslinging in Canadian electoral history.)

Heidt described breakaway Gnu Brian (Godzilla) Salmi as “too serious for us,” but I have to agree with Salmi that the old Rhinos may be getting, ah, hidebound.

“The one thing that is clear is that the Rhinos have strayed from the one true path,” Salmi said in a gnus release last week. “It’s obvious they now believe it’s more important to be a party than to have a party.”

Too true. And it’s pleasantly surprising to meet a Gnu who stands out from the herd. Maybe we need more animal acts in politics.

The Eagle party would parody conventional tax strategy by dropping its campaign literature from great heights with deadly accuracy.

The Mayfly party would offer brief campaigns, completely concerned with sex, and no Mayfly candidate would ever run twice.

For the kids, how about a Dinosaur party? Or is that redundant?

Vancouver Sun
August 28, 1993
Page A1
Running in Vancouver: Kim! comes a-callin’
Robert Mason Lee

Prime Minister Kim Campbell’s personal election campaign began Friday amid all the hoopla, energy, and enthusiasm that a well-oiled political machine can deliver.

Campbell was officially named the Progressive Conservative candidate for Vancouver Centre during a gala event at Canada Place. The cheerful tone was of an optimistic, almost delirious, campaign launch; but it served to underline the Tories’ grim determination to win the riding for Campbell at all costs.

The unmistakable signature of the Tory machine was everywhere. It began with the firm hand of ready money, as seen in the two cavernous ballrooms at the best hall in town.

It had the bold stroke of modern technology, as seen in the inspirational mini-bio of the candidate (projected on an oversized video screen, it drew a standing ovation). And it finished with the dots and crosses of fine detail, as seen in the masterful handling of 700 protesters who greeted her arrival.

“Vancouver Centre is my reality check,” Campbell said, and it would have been hard for her to lose her identity when her picture was everywhere, 20 times life size on screens and posters and banners; and when her name was everywhere, on placards and t-shirts and baseball caps, followed by the trademark exclamation mark intended to evoke surprise and excitement: Kim!

When Kim! arrived at Canada Place, her handlers steered her toward the friendly protest group of Canadian Airlines International employees, who bedecked her with roses.

“We wanted to show her that we’re here, but we also wanted to soften up the edges,” said the employee’s association chair, Sid Fattedad. “We don’t want a war with the Canadian people. We just want (our airline) to be left alone to survive.”

But the handlers also ensured that Campbell did not cross paths with the angry fisheries protesters, the anti-free traders shouting “Traitor!” or Brian Salmi, the “spokeslizard” for the Rhino splinter group. When asked if Campbell’s “politics of inclusion” also included grown men dressed as lizards with roller blades and a beanie, Salmi replied: “Absolutely not.”

During her speech to the nomination meeting, Kim! was as familiar as folks around the dinner table when she told the story about her RCMP security detail crouched behind potted palms at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

She seemed to be confiding to friends when she complained that the Mounties’ reputation for discretion hadn’t yet been put to the test.

The message seemed to be that the Tory steamroller in the next election will have a folksy hand at the controls.

The Vancouver Sun
September 14, 1993
Page A5
Ringing in the Gnus: 
Offshoot of Rhinos feels being a gnuisance 
is a gnusworthy way to exploit voter disgust
Robert Mason Lee

BRIAN (GODZILLA) SALMI has started a political party to cash in on widespread voter disgust with politics. His slogan is, “If you can’t bring yourself to vote for anyone, we’ll give you someone not to vote for.”

Salmi is the founder of the Gnu Democratic Rhino Reform Party. There are only two things worth knowing about the party: The “g” in “Gnu” is pronounced, and they’re out to replace the Rhinoceros Party as the voice of political spoofery in Canada.

The party will field 14 candidates in the Lower Mainland in the coming election. In the one after that, Salmi hopes to have organized “from Gnufoundland to the Gnukon.” In other words, gnationally.

The Gnus formed last month after splitting from the Rhinos over a dispute involving a stripper and a professional dominatrix. Salmi, a former Rhino candidate himself, had planned to run stripper Blondie Butler as the party’s candidate in Vancouver Centre. Among their other candidates was a dominatrix named Mistress Elle.

But Salmi received a letter from the Rhino’s Montreal headquarters on July 27 disallowing Butler and Elle as candidates; and a gnu party was born.

Mistress Elle, naturally, was named the party whip.

Butler still couldn’t run as a candidate, as it turned out, because she is a U.S. citizen. She became party leader, and Salmi replaced her as Vancouver Centre candidate.

He will be easy to spot at all-candidate forums. He dresses in a green Godzilla suit. He intended the fearsome monster outfit as an anti-nuclear warning, but the outfit is so tattered and stupid-looking that most people mistake it for Kermit the frog. “I don’t get no respect.”

No self-respecting politician would raise funds the way Salmi does, either, but then Salmi considers the term “self-respecting politician” a contradiction in terms.

He plans to wear a Kim Campbell mask and a dress, stuff pillows down his backside to absorb the blows, and then stand on street corners offering people the chance to “kick Kim Campbell in the butt for a buck.”

Government might well improve if all candidates were required to get kicked in the butt, as a sort of anticipatory measure. But the only requirement for Salmi to enter the race is posting $1,000 with Elections Canada.

It’s a lot of money, when raised one kick at a time. Other fund raisers include Spank-a-Thons at alternative night clubs, where audience members can get spanked by the Gnu candidate of their choice for a dollar.

The Gnus are cunning and unscrupulous fund raisers, but then, what party isn’t? Salmi said he recently pulled in $6,500 by scalping tickets to the Dalai Lama. Tickets were available to anyone for $5 each, so Salmi bought a bunch and sold them for $50 to $75 apiece by advertising in the new age tabloid, Common Ground.

Another fund-raising idea, which will only pay dividends after the vote, involves taking bets from National Party supporters on how many seats they’ll win. The “over-zealous, wall-eyed” Nationalists, he notes, actually believe they are going to Ottawa.

Salmi writes a monthly column for the alternative newspaper TerminalCity, which is outrageous, wicked, and for the most part not to be repeated in a mainstream newspaper.

“It’s time to gas up the barbecue and make those swine sweat a bit,” is how he welcomed the election call. He describes himself as an iconoclastic anarchist, but does not share the anarchist practice of abstaining from the vote. “Voting Gnu will make a much bigger statement than staying home on election day.

“There were 4.5 million people who didn’t even vote last time,” he added. “If we can harness that, it will be a protest vote against the whole stinking establishment.”

Salmi is disdainful of the Rhino decision to withdraw as an official party rather than pay the minimum $50,000 ($1,000 each for a minimum of 50 candidates) required by Elections Canada.

Although he intends to register as an official party in the next election, for this election the Gnu Party lacks the minimum number of candidates. Besides, registration would make the party liable for each candidate’s calculation of expenses, “and with the group of misfits we’ve got, I don’t want to be responsible for them.”

Instead, Gnu candidates will run as independents, with “Gnu” as their middle name. Thus, Salmi intends to be listed on the ballot as Brian Godzilla Gnu Salmi, the party whip will be listed as Mistress Gnu Elle, and local musician Bif Naked will become Bif Gnu Naked.

“It might get a bit confusing because so many of us have nicknames already,” Salmi said. “After all, we’re freaks.”

But then, the whole point is to be a bit of a gnuisance.

Globe and Mail
September 15
A6
Another gnuisance on the fringe

Brian (Godzilla) Salmi has started a political party to cash in on voter disgust with politics – the Gnu Democratic Rhino Reform party. There are only two things worth knowing about the party: The “G” in “Gnu” is pronounced, and it’s out to replace the Rhinoceros Party as the voice of political spoofery in Canada. The Gnus will field 14 candidates in the Vancouver area in the coming election. In the one after that, Mr. Salmi hopes to have organized “from Gnufoundland to the Gnukon.”

The Gnus formed last month after splitting from the Rhinos over a dispute involving a stripper and a professional dominatrix, he says.

Mr. Salmi will be easy to spot at all-candidate forums. He dresses in a green Godzilla suit. He intended the outfit as an anti-nuclear warning, but his costume is so tattered and stupid-looking that most people mistake it for Kermit the Frog.

“I don’t get no respect.”

Vancouver Courier
September 19, 1993
Page 5
Gnu Rhinos, same old tricks
Putting fun in fund-raising
Mike Usinger

With the 1993 federal election just over a week and half old, the Gnu Democratic rhino reform Party has trotted out the mud balls.

The Lotusland party, which earlier this year split from the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, launched its election campaign Thursday night at the Cambie Hotel.

Tasteless is the best way to describe the kick-off, which was billed as “Crazier than Preston Manning’s mother and uglier than Murray Pezim.”

Party spokesman Brian “Godzilla” Salmi, running in Vancouver Centre against Prime Minister Kim Campbell, said he doesn’t know how many Gnu Rhinos will end up on the ballot.

Because of new Canada Elections Act regulations, which state that parties must run 50 candidates to be registered with Elections Canada, Gnu Rhinos will be running as independents.

But the candidates have to do some serious fund-raising even if the want to run as independents. All candidates have to pay a $1000 fee to have their names listed on the ballot. The Gnu Democratic Rhino Reform Party has 14 candidates willing to run in the Lower Mainland, meaning it has to raise $14,000.

“We’re considerably short of that at the moment,” Salmi said. To come up with the money, the Gnu Rhinos are holding several decidedly innovative fund-raising events.

Salmi donned a blonde wig, Kim Campbell mask Thursday, strapped a pillow to his butt, and gave pub patrons the opportunity to “Kick Kim Campbell’s ass for $1.”

Benefit concerts took place Friday and Saturday at the new Cruel elephant/ Station Street Arts Centre. Tonight, following the Terry Fox Run, there will be a “Steve Fonyo Pub Crawl.”

Salmi says such events are making people aware of the fledgling party. “We’ve done really well as far as media coverage goes,” he said. “Basically, even if you’re the village idiot, you can get covered in an election.”

Salmi says party members are still hoping a mysterious benefactor will step forward with their nomination money. “We thought we had a couple of sponsors earlier on, but no one wants to touch us now. We keep waiting for a brown paper envelope to show up under the door. We’re saying, ‘Send in money of you want the freaks to be on the ballot.’”

As for his chances of defeating Campbell, Salmi hints the battle may be more interesting than the final decision – “Basically, it’s going to be Godzilla vs. Kim Kong.”

The Province (Vancouver_
September 29, 1993
A18
Don’t anger Mr. Bigge

Ryan Bigge is just another name on the ballot. But Ryan (Really Effing) Bigge is obviously a member of those fun-loving Gnu Democratic Rhino Reform partiers.

The 6-foot-6 candidate is angry that election officials refuse to print his nickname on the ballot in Delta.

“It could kill him,” says Bigge’s running mate, Brian (Godzilla) Salmi, who was allowed to keep his nickname on the Vancouver Centre ballot. “It’s just one more step in the systematic discrimination against freaks.”

The Gnu Rhinos, who didn’t run enough candidates to get their party name on the ballot, say they rely on colorful nicknames “to be identified by the adoring masses.”

The Province (Vancouver)
October 4, 1993
Page A18
(Really Effin’) really frustrated

Desperate to get his nickname on the ballot, Gnu Democratic Rhino Reform candidate Ryan (Really Effin’) Bigge went ballistic yesterday.

Accompanied by his pal Brian (Godzilla) Salmi and armed with a “50 mega-pun gnuclear warhead,” Bigge occupied the Elections Canada office in Delta.

The pair demanded to speak with chief electoral officer Jean- Pierre Kingsley, who had earlier refused to let Bigge use his nickname on the ballot. They finally left after they were told Kingsley would give them a final ruling today.

Luckily, the two Gnus didn’t have to use their mega-pun bomb — an old howitzer shell stuffed with posters featuring American stripper Blondie Butler.

“It was close,” said Salmi. “It could have been Armageddon in Delta.”

The Vancouver Sun
October 6, 1993
Page B1
Rhinos seeking 1,000 candidates for mayor
Harold Munro

The founder of the Gnu Rhinoceros party says about 300 “freaks and musicians” plan to register this week at Vancouver city hall as mayoral candidates in the November civic election.

Before the Oct. 15 nomination deadline, Brian (Godzilla) Salmi hopes to convince at least 1,000 Vancouver residents to run for mayor.

Salmi says he hopes, in fact, that everyone in B.C. will run for office in municipal elections around the province, taking advantage of amended election rules that allow candidates to run without putting up any money.

At the clerk’s office at city hall, Gil Mervyn, deputy returning officer for the election, paled Tuesday afternoon when The Vancouver Sun told him of Salmi’s scheme.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Mervyn. “It hasn’t materialized yet, but if it does, uh, we’ve got a problem.”

Salmi has reprinted the nomination form in 20,000 copies of the latest edition of TerminalCity, his alternative bi-monthly newspaper, which hits Vancouver streets today.

(He’ll have to delay his mayoral campaign until after the Oct. 25 federal election because he is also the Gnu candidate in Premier Kim Campbell’s riding, Vancouver Centre.)

Salmi explains in a story in TerminalCity that he and a friend got the idea several months ago after Salmi realized anyone could run for mayor without paying a deposit.

“And then it hit us like a 100,000-volt laser up the a– — why not get all our friends to run for mayor?” he writes. “Why not get 100 people to run for mayor? Why not get 1,000 people to run for mayor? The ballot will be 50 feet long and they’ll have to hold the all-candidates debate in the dome.”

Salmi is exploiting recent changes to the Municipal Act by the provincial government that make getting on the ballot as easy as signing your name.

Under the revised legislation, any Canadian citizen who meets the residency requirements and files nomination papers signed by two other people residing in the municipality before Oct. 15 is on the ballot.

Candidates for city council were required to pay a $300 deposit in the 1990 Vancouver election, to discourage nuisance candidates.

“We’ve got several hundred people who already have nomination papers in their hands,” Salmi said Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s an abuse of the system.

“The people we are attracting are freaks and musicians. People who have probably never even voted before. We are giving them a voice.”

Irene Robertson, an official of the municipal affairs ministry in Victoria, said the provincial New Democratic Party government amended the election legislation to “make local government more accessible to as many people as possible.”

Salmi agrees. He said he wants hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens to participate by getting their names on the ballot.

“We are going about this legally,” Salmi concluded. “We are staying within the system.”

Vancouver Sun (Editorial)
October 7, 1993
A22
Vandalizing democracy

LAST APRIL, Brian Salmi argued in this newspaper against the federal government’s requirement of a $1,000 deposit for political candidates. Mr. Salmi, a would-be representative of the Gnu Rhino party, argued that the feds were trying to freeze the poor and disfranchised out of the political debate.

Now he’s encouraging every crank in Vancouver to run for mayor, which they can do precisely because the city set aside the requirement for a deposit. Thus, Mr. Salmi has proved that he is not really a political activist, not even a humorist, merely a vandal, attacking Canada’s democratic institutions for no purpose.

The result of this stupidity is that city government may be forced once again to ask candidates to demonstrate their commitment to the political process, likely with cash. It would be nice if they could come up with an alternative — maybe community work — for legitimate candidates who can’t afford cash. Mr. Salmi need not apply.

Vancouver Sun
October 8, 1993
B2
Vote machines can handle lots of candidates
Harold Munroe

Vancouver’s automated voting machines are capable of handling any number of candidates in the Nov. 20 civic election, according to deputy returning officer Gil Mervyn.

He said if hundreds of candidates register before deadline, the Optech 3P voting machines are designed to handle ballots up to 61 centimetres (24 inches) long. To go beyond that length would likely mean adding a second ballot.

In 1990, he said, a total of 85 candidates — council, school board and park board — and five plebiscite questions in Vancouver fit on a 43-centimetre (17-inch) ballot.

Mervyn commented Wednesday after Gnu Rhinoceros party founder Brian (Godzilla) Salmi unveiled plans to encourage at least 1,000 city residents to register as mayoral candidates before the Oct. 15 nomination deadline.

Salmi has reprinted the nomination form in the latest edition of

Terminal City, his alternative bi-monthly newspaper.

Recent changes to municipal elections legislation by the provincial New Democratic Party government allows candidates to run without paying a deposit.

Council candidates paid a $300 deposit in the 1990 Vancouver election.

Now that it’s free, Salmi figures everyone in B.C. should seek elected office. He claims to have recruited about 300 “freaks and musicians” thus far to run in Vancouver.

Bob Seeman, an independent candidate for mayor of Vancouver, says eliminating the deposit requirement was good for democracy.

“But where they (the province) made their mistake was not replacing it with something to discourage nuisance candidates,” he said.

A candidate needs only two signatures to file nomination papers — the same number as under the previous legislation. Seeman says increasing the number of signatures to 100 would help ensure candidates seeking office are serious.

Vancouver 16
October 16, 1993
A3
Record 23 names adorn mayoral ballot

Unless some candidates have second thoughts, a record 23 names will be on the mayoral ballot in the Nov. 20 civic election in Vancouver.

They’re part of a total of 139 people, most likely another record according to deputy city clerk Gil Mervyn, who are seeking election for city council, school board, park board and mayor.

“In 1980 we had a total of 92 candidates running for office. That’s as far as we’ve been able to check without going into the archives,” Mervyn said Friday after nominations for the election closed at 4 p.m.

But he said the number of mayoral candidates, including major party entries Philip Owen of the Non-Partisan Association and Libby Davies of the Coalition of Progressive Electors, is the highest in the city’s history.

Mervyn said 46 people are vying for 10 seats on council, 41 are running for park board, and 29 are seeking school board positions.

He said the city doesn’t anticipate any problems in handling the large number of candidates.

Under recent changes to municipal elections legislation, candidates have a week to withdraw or people can come forward to challenge a candidate as not being qualified.

“The list of candidates won’t be official until Oct. 25,” Mervyn said. “The deadline for challenges or withdrawals is Oct. 22. Some people may change their minds.”

Because the election legislation changes also allow candidates to run without paying a deposit, Gnu Rhinoceros party founder Brian (Godzilla) Salmi, a mayoral candidate, had called for at least 1,000 city residents to register as candidates for mayor before the nomination deadline.

(Council candidates paid a $300 deposit in the 1990 Vancouver election.)

Salmi reprinted the nomination form in 20,000 copies of a recent edition of Terminal City, an alternative bi-monthly newspaper.

But the big rush didn’t materialize, Mervyn said.

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