January 27, 2010
OTTAWA—A Liberal MP says he believes the federal government should investigate whether the pieing of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea by a woman opposed to the seal hunt constitutes an act of terrorism.Shea was delivering a speech Monday at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington, when a woman stood up and pushed a tofu cream pie squarely into the minister’s face. The animal-rights group PETA later took responsibility for the incident. It said in a release that it was part of its campaign “to stop the government’s ill-advised sanction of the slaughter of seals.” MP Gerry Byrne says he thinks what happened should be reviewed under the legal definition of terrorism. “When someone actually coaches or conducts criminal behaviour to impose a political agenda on each and every other citizen of Canada, that does seem to me to meet the test of a terrorist organization,” the member from Newfoundland and Labrador said in an interview from Ottawa with radio station VOCM in St. John’s, N.L. “I am calling on the Government of Canada to actually investigate whether or not this organization, PETA, is acting as a terrorist organization under the test that exists under Canadian law.” A spokesman for PETA could not immediately be reached for comment. Shea said afterward that the incident only strengthens her resolve to defend the hunt. Emily McCoy, 37, of New York City was taken into custody and charged with assault after the pieing. After the tofu cream pie was pushed squarely into the minister’s face, a woman started shouting as she was led away by officials. “Shame on you Gail Shea. … It is a shame on Canada. It is a shame that she has not denounced this bloody seal hunt,” the woman yelled. Shea, who represents a P.E.I. riding, didn’t require medical attention and returned to the podium after wiping the pie from her face. 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.