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2000: Protester pies Prime Minister Chrétien

It was a hardscrabble climb to the top for Jean Chrétien. "The little guy from Shawinigan" surprised everyone - except himself - by finding his way to the summit of Canadian politics. From the pool hall political debates of his childhood to the opulent offices of Ottawa, CBC Radio and Television capture the long, colourful career of Canada's 20th prime minister.

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It's one of the oldest gags in the book, but nobody's laughing today when a lone protester pushes a pie in the face of Jean Chrétien. The prime minister is in Charlottetown, P.E.I., glad-handing with islanders on a lazy midsummer visit for Old Home days. But then pastry bandit Evan Brown slips past RCMP scrutiny, and lands "a direct hit" on the PM. In classic Chrétien style, he later dismissed the creamy mess, joking that P.E.I. had developed "a funny way of serving pies."
• While the prime minister took a pie in the face, the incident gave the RCMP something of a black eye. As we hear in this clip, it was not the first time the prime minister's security detail missed their man. In 1995, an armed intruder made it all the way to the Chrétiens' bedroom door at 24 Sussex Drive before he was nabbed by the Mounties. Just a few months later, an anti-poverty protester got too close to the prime minister and was introduced to Jean Chrétien's famed "Shawinigan handshake."

• After the pie incident, police grabbed the defiant solo protester within seconds and charged 23-year-old Evan Brown with assault. Brown was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail. In the end, he served only eight days after a higher court said the original penalty was too stiff.

• Prime Minister Chrétien is one of many Canadian politicians to take a pastry in the puss. Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau, and Liberal cabinet ministers Stéphane Dion and Pierre Pettigrew also make the list of prominent Canadians on the wrong end of a serving platter. Chretien
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 16, 2000
Guest(s): Jean Chrétien, André Guertin
Host: Mark Kelly
Reporter: Eric Sorensen
Duration: 2:58

Last updated: May 28, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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