BURLINGTON, Ont. – Activists protesting the seal hunt laid claim Monday to having pied the fisheries and oceans minister, adding Gail Shea’s name to a list of politicians who have tasted that most peculiar of political protests.
Shea was delivering a speech at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters to open the Aquatic Life Research Facility, west of Toronto, when a woman stood up in the front row and pushed the pie squarely into her face.
While police called it a “shaving cream pie” the animal rights group that took responsibility for the act called it a “tofu cream pie.”
Whatever the filling was made of the incident resulted in an assault charge against an American resident.
PETA, which took credit for the incident, said in a release it was part of its campaign to stop the government’s “ill-advised sanction of the slaughter of seals.”
“Shame on you Gail Shea. Ban the bloody seal hunt. It is a shame on Canada, it is a shame that she has not denounced this bloody seal hunt,” the protester said after covering Shea’s face with the creamy white filling.
Shea, who represents a P.E.I. riding, did not require medical attention and returned to the podium after wiping the pie away.
Emily McCoy, 37, of New York City, was taken into custody and charged with assault, police said.
Politicians have often been targets for demonstrators wielding pies, some of whom went to jail.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien was hit in the face with a pie by a protester in Prince Edward Island in 2000. His attacker initially was given jail time but eventually received a conditional sentence.
A woman who missed Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach with a pie at the annual Calgary Stampede breakfast in 2007, and hit a security official instead, was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
So was a woman who threw a pie at Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier in the summer of 2007.
In 2003, a protester who hit then-Alberta premier Ralph Klein in the face with a pie at the Stampede breakfast was convicted of assault and ordered to serve a 30-day intermittent jail sentence.
Jean Charest got it in April 2003, two days before his Liberals ousted the Parti Quebecois and he was elected Quebec premier.