Wednesday, July 3, 2019

2002 Speaker Claude Richmond expells two journalists because 'minimal dress requirement' not observed

Made of the Right Stuff: Speaker Claude Richmond tosses two 'journalists' from Gallery

Office of the Speaker
Legislative Assembly of British Columbia


November 27, 2002

I wish to comment briefly on the events which took place in my office on Monday, November 25, 2002 between myself, Darren Atwater, editor of Terminal City Weekly, and Brian Salmi, also variously known as Godzilla and Satan.

The meeting was at the request of the editor of the weekly newspaper to discuss Mr. Salmi's application for membership to the Legislative Press Gallery.

Freedom of the press is not an issue nor did I make it an issue.  I have no interest in attempting to influence comments and opinions expressed about the politics, politicians and events which occur in the Legislature.

At no time were Mr. Atwater or Mr. Salmi requested to sign anything in my office.

Two basic questions were addressed with Mr. Salmi and his editor:

1.  They were asked about a column written by Mr. Salmi that contained outrageous and derogatory statements of a deviant sexual nature regarding officers of the Legislature.  My question to them was simply were they prepared to show some respect for the institution of Parliamnet?

2.  In the previous week, Mr. Salmi had arrived dressed in a manner that would not meet the requirements for the Legislative Assembly Chamber and Speaker's Corridor to which press have access.  They were asked if they were prepared to accede to the minimal dress requirements presently being observed by the Press Gallery members?

Both questions were answered in the negative.  At the end of the meeting, having reached no agreement and being out of time to discuss the matter further, both Mr. Salmi and Mr. Atwater said, "I am not going to leave this office".

After requests to leave were refused, it became apparent that it would be necessary to have the Sergeant-at-Arms staff remove them.  Upon their continued refusal to leave the Speaker's Office, they were in fact removed.  At this point the matter was simply treated as a "sit-in".

Events that occurred after they were removed from my office were entirely within the hands of the Sergeant-at-Arms and the local police and were conducted in accordance with the law.

I wish to clearly state that I have absolutely no interest in or authority over what is reported by the Press Gallery and to suggest the above events amount to an attack on the freedom of the press is, in my view,  to distort what happened.  I continue to support and provide for the Press Gallery and its operations within the Parliament Buildings.  Traditionally, the only guidelines are those of dress and decorum in the Legislatvie Assembly Chamber and Speaker's Corridor.  Application for membership to the Press Gallery is determined by that body.

Hon.  Claude Richmond
Which leaves me to wonder why other 'Press' persons wishing to have access to the Press Gallery, all they need to do is Dress properly.  Over to you Bob Mackin -TheBreaker

BC Leg Library: Search Criteria:  bcdocs_speaker

Item 11
Media statement / Office of the Speaker, Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. --

Item 3
 Media kit : Day of Mourning, April 27, 2007. --

Item 13
Speaker's statement re: parties : official opposition status. --

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