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2005 – man who used to call himself Godzilla then later legally changed his name to Sa Tan to sound like “satan” is accusing the Yukon government of defaming his character.

Whitehorse Star (Yukon)
March 9, 2005
Page 5
Council treated to sardonic address</b
Stephanie Waddell

It’s not likely the city will put noise rooms into bars anytime soon, given its stance on the idea for smoking rooms in bars, says Brian Salmi.

The Whitehorse man appeared before council as a delegate at its Monday evening meeting. He proposed a bylaw that would regulate decibel levels in the city.

“I would think that there might be provisions for noise rooms to be built for people that like to enjoy that sort of loud noise, but given this council’s logic on the (smoking) bylaw, I’m assuming you’d probably be adverse to that as well,” he told council.

The city-wide smoking ban came into effect for bars in January.

While the B.C./Yukon Hotel Association has called on the city to permit smoking rooms to be established, council turned down an earlier request from the Royal Canadian Legion.

Coun. Doug Graham has said he may speak to other councillors about revisiting the bylaw for various options such as smoking rooms.

Salmi’s request for such a bylaw regulating noise did not refer to smoking. However, he made arguments about the long-term health effects, similar to those who argued in favour of the smoking ban.

In requesting his proposed bylaw, Salmi spoke about the long- term impact that “listening to too much loud music for too long” has had on him.

“I think it’s fair to say the majority of the public finds loud music rather obnoxious, at least a nuisance and probably, at worst, a serious health hazard,” he said.

Those who work in bars are exposed to loud music on a regular basis and may not understand the impact in years to come, he added.

“I would think that given we are the majority, council would see fit to passing such a bylaw,” he said.

Council members didn’t have any questions for Salmi after his presentation.

Mayor Ernie Bourassa and Coun. Dave Stockdale were absent from Monday’s meeting, with Coun. Mel Stehelin serving as acting mayor.

Whitehorse Star
March 23, 2005
Page unkown
Oppressed’ smokers plan strategy meeting

There could be some smoking hot discussion at a meeting set for March 30 at the Whitehorse Public Library.

‘First of all, what I want to do is inform smokers that things are a lot worse than they even understand here, and that unless we stand up for ourselves, things are going to get as bad, if not worse, than they are in the (United) States,’ Brian Salmi, who’s organizing the meeting, said in an interview Monday.

He pointed to a case in Michigan last month where four smokers were fired from their jobs for refusing to submit to blood and urine sample testing.

‘For a decade now, there are a number of municipalities in the United States where you can’t get a job with a municipality if you’re a smoker,’ said Salmi, a smoker.

He recently launched a human rights complaint against the city’s smoking bylaw, which prohibits smoking in all public places.

In his complaint, he points to a case 10 years ago in Miami, Fla., where a woman who applied for a job with the city had to swear an affidavit that she hadn’t smoked in the past year.

‘She couldn’t do that so she was denied the job,’ Salmi said, adding there are similar cases throughout the U.S.

‘And that’s all coming here,’ he suggested. ‘So the biggest thing I want to do is explain to smokers that we have to start standing up for ourselves because we are the most openly and joyfully oppressed minority in the Western world today.’

While he’s not sure how many people may come out to the meeting, he said he expects there will be some who understand the necessity of taking action on the matter. Some may be non-smokiers who have more civil libertarian tendencies.

‘What course of action we take is certainly open for debate at this point,’ Salmi said, though he added he has a few ideas of his own.

He was reluctant to say what many of those ideas are. The first, obviously, is to challenge the city’s smoking bylaw, he said.

‘The bylaw is at the crux of the matter,’ he said.

His principal concern with the bylaw, he said, is he believes council was misled by staff in the argument that health hazards of second-hand smoke are irrefutable and incontrovertible.

‘There actually is a very serious debate within the scientific community regarding the effects of second-hand smoke,’ he said.

In an interview Monday, city manager Bill Newell said he thinks the city provided a lot of opportunity for all arguments for and against the smoking ban to be presented to council.

Even after the bylaw was introduced (with the exception of bars) in 2004, there continued to be discussion about the bylaw. Bars began falling under the ban in January a year later than other businesses came under it.

Newell noted Salmi is also able to speak at standing committee council meetings on the issue.

Salmi argued that with the information administration presented to council, members felt they had a responsibility to ban smoking.

While proponents of smoking bans often argue there’s no safe level of second-hand smoke, Salmi noted that same argument isn’t made for radiation.

‘If the lies that are being told by smoking ban proponents were true, we’d all have been dead a long time ago,’ he said. ‘And unfortunately, staff managed to bamboozle council into believing this nonsense.’

If council members had been aware of the current debate regarding second-hand smoke, they may have taken another course of action, he said.

‘Smoking rooms is one,’ Salmi said.

The city turned down a request last year from the local Royal Canadian Legion to permit a smoking room in its Alexander Street facility. Some bars around town have also proposed the rooms, but to no avail.

Smoking bans aren’t about protecting the health of non-smokers, but rather making smokers quit, Salmi argued.

He’s hopeful there are enough people left in the Yukon who believe in liberty who show up to the meeting, ‘if, for no other reason, than out of intellectual curiosity to see the heretic stand up and, you know, tell them the Earth revolves around the sun.’

The idea for the meeting came to Salmi when he was talking to some friends who are smokers. They ended up sitting around the kitchen table rather than a bar discussing the issue.

Any action that’s taken will likely be discussed at a meeting subsequent to the March 30 event after there’s a number of people found who are interested in working on it, he said.

‘Start with this one, get the word out, find out who’s interested in doing something, who’s interested in being kept in touch with it, and then we’ll discuss if there’s different action,’ Salmi said.

The March 30 meeting will get underway at the Whitehorse Public Library at 7 p.m.

Whitehorse Star
April 1, 2005
Page unknown
Probe city staff, smoking advocate urges

The territory could be asked to investigate Whitehorse city staff for the information it presented to council on second-hand smoke when it was considering whether to go ahead with the city-wide smoking ban.

While the ban took effect in 2004, bars and a Porter Creek billiards establishment were given a year’s grace from implementing the bylaw, until January 2005.

Local resident Brian Salmi proposed the idea at a meeting he hosted Wednesday night at the Whitehorse Public Library.

He noted there’s a provision in the territorial Municipal Act for the minister of Community Services currently Glenn Hart to order an investigation into the conduct of city council.

Salmi suggested smokers and bar workers who have been impacted by the ban should approach Hart to ask for an investigation into whether council was misled by staff in the information presented on secondhand smoke.

‘We have every right to do that,’ he told the approximately 30 people who turned out for the meeting.

‘Now if the minister decides, for whatever reason, that he doesn’t want to launch an investigation, there’s also provisions under the Municipal Act that if we get the signatures of 20 per cent of the populace of this municipality to sign a petition, an investigation has to be ordered by law.’

That means staff who prepared reports for council will be looked at, and how they missed the fact there’s a currently a scientific debate about the health hazards of second hand smoke, Salmi said.

‘Now I may be wrong about this, but if it’s found staff deliberately withheld this information from council, they can be fired for that,’ he said.

‘Council will then not have any ability to say they were ignorant. It will be in their face and they will be forced to reopen a debate.’

The group decided to meet again at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Capital Hotel to decide exactly what strategy to take.

In an interview after the Wednesday meeting, Salmi said he expects Hart could be approached within the next week about the proposed investigation.

‘I’ve got all the evidence already, anyway,’ he said.

Neither city manager Bill Newell nor Hart could be reached for comment on Salmi’s proposal.

Salmi also suggested to the group there’s no reason they can’t have some fun in working to get the bylaw turned around.

‘I would also recommend that one of the reasons anti-smokers get away with what they’re getting away with is because we have been marginalized and ostracized and demonized,’ he said.

He suggested a smokers’ group could be formed that focuses on the public good, perhaps raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society to find a cure for lung cancer, for example.

‘All of the sudden, we remove the horns from ourselves because smokers are in every element of society,’ Salmi said.

‘There’s smokers in every organization in this city, in this territory, in this country.

‘I mean, we are everywhere. We’re not just some small band of chain-smoking social rejects who don’t get involved with the communities that we live in.’

Doing such work wouldn’t be just for ‘getting the anti-smokers off our backs, but because they’re also the right things to do,’ he added.

While Salmi discussed initiatives the group could take together, Pat Copeland, who attended the meeting, pointed to some individual action smokers could take.

‘I’m not paying my taxes until this is resolved in the courts,’ he said, adding it should be up to the owner of the establishment to decide what patrons can do.

‘The second thing is, I don’t support any other city facilities or municipal buildings, sporting events, even this library really. I stay out of it,’ he said.

‘If at all possible, I park way downtown so I don’t put money into their coffers. I don’t think it’s right.’

Copeland suggested both smokers and non-smokers have rights.

‘I have rights,’ he said. ‘Non-smokers have rights too. And one right they got is any one of them can open up a bar, a casino, a restaurant and conduct business.’

While others suggested petitioning the city to change the smoking bylaw, the other option considered was legal action.

As Salmi noted though, bar owners have legal counsel and are preparing to fight the bylaw in court.

The ‘98 Hotel, Sam McGees Bar and Grill at the 202 Motor Inn, the Skyjacker Lounge opposite the Whitehorse airport and the Capital Hotel are facing charges of breaking the smoking bylaw. Court appearances for the bars are scheduled throughout May and June.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, Salmi pointed to a number of cases in the U.S. where people haven’t gotten a job or have been fired for not submitting to blood and urine testing at work for smoking. He suggested similar situations could soon be in Canada.

He pointed to the more than $6 million that cigarette taxes are expected to bring into the territory this year. That can pay the entire budget of running the Yukon legislature, he suggested.

Salmi also noted the ongoing campaign of ‘denormalizing’ smokers through various websites and media messages by lobby groups and Health Canada.

Whitehorse Star
April 12, 2005
Page unknown
Minister declines to see inquiry-seeker

Brian Salmi says he and a group of people wanting an inquiry into City of Whitehorse staff over the anti-smoking bylaw have been essentially told to ‘get lost.’

Salmi requested a meeting with Community Services Minister Glenn Hart to discuss the possibility of an inquiry.

He said last week he received an e-mail response from Hart’s executive assistant, Christopher Young, saying the minister would not be available.

It doesn’t give a reason why Hart would not be available, but states: ‘As for the process of requesting a municipal inquiry, I would suggest that you speak with Patrick Michael, the clerk of the legislative assembly, or with Marc Tremblay, deputy minister for community services.’

Salmi said it’s the minister he wants to meet with because that’s who would order such an inquiry.

At a recent public meeting hosted by Salmi to look at taking action on the city’s smoking bylaw, he proposed the idea of the inquiry. Under the Municipal Act, it can be ordered by the minister of community services.

Salmi believes city staff didn’t inform council of the debate within the scientific community on how harmful second-hand smoke is when council was considering the city-wide smoking ban that’s been in place since last January.

Should the minister not go ahead with an inquiry, if 20 per cent of the voters in the municipality sign a petition in favour of it, then it’s required by law, Salmi said.

He’s also curious about what Hart even knows about the request he wants to make.

As for what he and the rest of the group working on the endeavour will do after being denied a meeting with Hart, he said, ‘We’ll go back to the minister.’

If Hart still doesn’t listen, the group may approach all of the Yukon Party cabinet, Salmi said.

There may be people within the cabinet office that are ‘a little more sympathetic,’ he said.

As for what happens after that, should no one listen, Salmi said ‘We’ll either cross or jump off that bridge when we get to it.’

Hart did not return phone calls from the Star on the matter.

Whitehorse Star
April 13, 2005
Page 1
Sa Tan, otherwise known as Brian Salmi, sues Yukon government for defamation

A man who used to call himself Godzilla then later legally changed his name to Sa Tan to sound like “satan” is accusing the Yukon government of defaming his character.

Tan, also known as Brian Salmi, claims to have been hired as the communications manager for the Department of Economic Development.

According to e-mails Tan sent to Yukon Supreme Court last week, he was asked by the department to review and revise a briefing note for Economic Development Minister Jim Kenyon on a proposed Alaska-Yukon railway.
Apparently, Tan carried out that request.

However, 10 days after he was hired, the department withdrew the offer, said Tan.
He said the Public Service Commission’s reason was he had not used his correct legal name, Sa Tan, in the competition and hiring process.

Instead, he used his alias, Brian Salmi.

Several years ago, Salmi legally changed his name to sound like the word “satan”.
He had been known as Godzilla for some time in British Columbia.

However in Tan’s recent political endeavours, such as bringing the Rhino Party to the Yukon and organizing public meetings against the city’s smoking bylaw, Tan has gone by the name Brian Salmi.
Tan said the government created a breach of contract when it revoked its offer of employment.
In his lawsuit, Tan said he will claim the government defamed his character by denying there has been a breach of contract.

Tan believes the experience will compromise his ability to compete for similar employment within the Yukon government.

Last week, Justice Leigh Gower waived the usual filing fees for Tan so he will not have to pay the fees normally required when bringing forward such actions.

Gower ruled Tan was indigent, lacking the funds to pay the $280 needed to file his claims.
Tan only has an income of $750 a month.

Georgia Straight
April 14, 2005
Page unknown
Godzilla fights back
Pieta Woolley

A WELL-KNOWN VANCOUVER political satirist is suing the Yukon government for $2.5 million in a breach-of-contract suit. Brian “Godzilla” Salmi applied for a job as a communications officer for the department of economic development. He claims that he was offered the position, though no papers were signed. He also alleges that when his future boss discovered his legal name, Sa Tan, she withdrew the job offer.

“It’s all quite farcical,” Salmi told the Straight on the phone from Whitehorse. “At this point, it’s just justice that’s keeping me here. I’m not going to let the Boss Hoggs pull this off. In spite of the fact that every door in the Yukon is now closed to me, if I have to live under a bridge and eat out of a garbage can to beat these fuckers, I’ll do it.”

Salmi-which is his birth name-changed his legal name to Sa Tan to run in a 1997 provincial byelection in the Fraser Valley. He believes that withdrawing employment on the basis of a name amounts to discrimination. Salmi is also suing four Yukon bureaucrats for defamation; he has complained to the Yukon Human Rights Commission and to the Yukon ombudsman.

On his résumé, Salmi wrote that he doesn’t recognize authority, has a “tendency to be megalomaniacal”, won’t wear ties or cut his hair, and has a “very colourful history, which tends to frighten linear thinkers”.

Lawrie Crawford, the director of policy, planning, and research for the department of economic development, interviewed Salmi. She told the Straight she had no comment as the matter is before the court. Jean-Francois Des Lauriers, the regional executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s northern offices, said he can’t advocate for Salmi because he hadn’t joined the union before the offer was withdrawn. Des Lauriers did, however, tell the Straight that the NHL has a player named Miroslav Satan (who plays for the Buffalo Sabres), and his name didn’t keep him out of the league.

Time Magazine
August 29, 2005
Page 25
On track for a battle
A proposal for a rail system linking Alaska, 
the Yukon and BC has tempers flaring in the north
Deborah Jones

For nearly a century, Alaskans have dreamed of a railroad through Canada that would connect them to the Lower 48 states. Because of the huge cost and limited demand, the idea has been as fleeting as the northern lights shimmering in the Arctic sky.

That hasn’t stopped Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie and Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski , who agreed in April to co-chair to look at a combined rail, fiber-optic and pipeline corridor that could run from Alaska’s Delta Junction through the Yukon to DeaseLake in British Columbia. “Economic opportunities have improved,” says Jeanette James, a former Alaska state legislator and advisor to Murkowski, noting that the $5 billion rail link would encourage the development of northern mineral resources and carry freight between Asia and North America.

But at the top of the world where, as poet Robert W Service wrote, “There are strange things done in the midnight sun,” the prospect of the rail link has lit up some of the Yukon’s eccentric political figures. It is generating both anti-American sentiment and zany personal attacks. Fentie’s opponents argue that the railroad could aid the prospects of a US missile shield. They cite a report by CRA International, which focuses in large part economics and the rail transport of commodities like coal: the report notes in passing that the system could provide minor logistic support for missile-defense bases in Alaska. That’s in addition to moving military goods and troops from Alaska to the lower states via Canada to help, “in ensuring the security of northeast Asia and North America.”

Because Canada has opted out of the US missile-defense plan, the report, “started a firestorm,” says James. Never mind that the US has a history of developing infrastructure up north – it built the Alaska Highway through the Yukon to Alaska for military purposes in 1942. Allowing a railway to service Alaskan facilities would violate Canadian policy, charges Steve Staples, director of security programs with the Polaris Institute, an Ottawa think tank. Todd Hardy, leader of the Yukon official NDP opposition, says the railroad’s biggest single user would be the US military: “It’s purely to do with defense and the American’s obsession with arming themselves.”

The most vehement opponent is Brian Salmi, a fringe politician formerly with the Rhinoceros Party, who has taken the spat to a personal level. Salmi says the Americans are so determined to achieve the rail link that they allowed an individual with a criminal background into the US to lobby for it. That person is Premier Fentie, who was convicted in the 1970s of dealing heroin in Alberta, served 17 months in prison and was later pardoned. He has received visas to enter the US for business and politics. “It’s interesting that the Americans are off their high horses in the war on drugs to let a known, convicted heroin dealer in,” Salmi says.

He admits that his opposition is driven by a personal beef against the Yukon government, which Salmi says hired him and then fired him as a communications director this year. Alleged reason for dismissal? He changed his name to Sa Tan at the behest of a former girlfriend – she said she would marry him only if he were the devil. Salmi/Sa Tan’s discrimination case is currently before a Yukon court.

Amid the kerfuffle, Yukon officials hope the $6 million study, due next June, will ally some fears. “My job is to back away from the emotional reactions on both sides,” says Calgary consultant Kells Boland, who is conducting the study. Fentie and Murkowski argue that the rail and data corridor would be a catalyst for the economy and that the military aspects are overblown. Officials point out that the US military moves missiles only by aircraft, and that Canadian air space, roads and water are routinely used to ship other military goods to Alaska. “There’s much more than simply the military aspect here. Much more,” Fentie told TIME.

Several Washington agencies have already expressed support for the project, perhaps one reason Ottawa remains cagey. “The government of Canada’s position is that an economic opportunity study needs to be done,” says Kirsten Goodnough of the federal Transport Department. Meaning, if the missile controversy blows over, rail proponents will still be left with the formidable task of making a business case. This far north, stranger things have happened.

Vancouver Sun
November 1, 2005
B5
Terminal City can’t afford to keep going
Neil Hall

Publisher of alternative weekly newspaper blames competition in ‘saturated market’

VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s alternative weekly newspaper Terminal City has reached the end of the line, announcing Monday it has ceased publication.

“It’s a sad day for all of us at Terminal City,” publisher John Kay said, adding the paper provided “another voice and one willing to take bold risks.”

The newspaper ran out of cash, he said, blaming a “saturated market” that has three free daily newspapers and a number of weeklies competing for the same advertising revenue.

Terminal City had been publishing on and off for 13 years, said Kay, 38, who had been publisher for the last 15 months.

“We had tremendous talent,” Kay said of the paper’s staff of six and stable of freelance writers who wrote much of the editorial content. The weekly was published by Victory Square Publishing Ltd. and distributed every Thursday. The last edition was published Oct. 27.

“It’s a shock,” said news editor Ian King, who learned Monday morning that the newspaper was folding. “I thought we’d be able to keep going until the end of November.”

In its early years, the paper was known for its anti-mainstream irreverence. Three years ago, the newspaper’s then editor Darren Atwater, also known as Rev. Moonbeam, and columnist Brian (Godzilla) Salmi were arrested at the legislature in Victoria after they met with Speaker Claude Richmond to discuss parliamentary respect, and refused to leave his office.

The meeting concerned Salmi being banned the previous week from the press gallery when he showed up in zebra-striped tights and a shirt that said “I am Satan.” Richmond had insisted Salmi wear a jacket and tie.

Salmi, a self-described anarchist, ran in the 1996 federal election under the name Satan and for the Rhino Party in 1988 under his nickname Godzilla.

He also created a stir in Victoria’s legislative press gallery when he wrote a Hunter S. Thompson-style fictitious account of drinking and snorting drugs with gallery members.

Georgia Straight
November 3, 2005
Page unknown
Pieta Woolley

TERMINAL CITY IS dead. Publisher John Kay posted a news release at http://www.terminalcity.ca/ on October 31, announcing the closure without giving any reasons. Darren Atwater, who started the paper 13 years ago, alleged Kay’s management killed it.

“They lost 80 percent of the ads from a year ago”¦,” Atwater, who was fired as editor in 2004, told the Straight. “It’s not a matter of sour grapes. The publisher just had no clue.”

Kay didn’t return the Straight’s calls by deadline.

Atwater, who didn’t mention Vancouver’s new free dailies as a possible reason for the closure, started Terminal City in 1992. In 1998, it went broke and closed. Atwater’s brother helped revive the paper in 2001. Then, the two sold a majority share to Kay 13 months ago.

Two days after they signed the papers in October 2004, Kay fired Atwater. Atwater estimated that the paper lost about $30,000 per month with Kay at the helm (based on its 2001-04 expenses), and he said the new management missed the paper’s niche: to be fearless and funny.

“I think it’s a tragedy Terminal City has closed, but it hasn’t been Terminal City for over a year,” Atwater said.

Simon Fraser University communications professor Robert Hackett remarked that a local voice was lost, but it’s not one he’ll particularly miss.

“I stopped reading Terminal City after it was re-created as an entertainment paper,” Hackett told the Straight. “It used to be biting, counterculture, and alternative.” Brian Salmi, a 12-year contributing writer to Terminal City, blames the closure on the failure of the paper to achieve its ideological objectives. Management tried to use it as an organ to sway young people to the political left, Salmi alleged. Instead, he claimed, no one read it.

“We were a Keystone Kops operation,” Salmi told the Straight, recalling the old days. “We were fuck-ups, misfits, and malcontents, and we always had an axe to grind. And we wanted to create something wonderful.”

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