Few laughed in Ottawa or P.E.I. when a pie hit a PM

The RCMP weren't laughing when a protester managed to sneak up on Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and put a pie in his face.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wasn't injured, but security lapse was clear

The prime minister is hit with a pie

23 years ago
Duration 0:33
The National reports on the day a protester pushed a pie in the prime minister's face.

Prime Minister Jean Chré​tien wasn't laughing when a protester put a pie in his face and neither were the RCMP.

It happened when the prime minister was making a pre-election campaign stop in Prince Edward Island on August 16, 2000. As Chrétien was mingling with a crowd of people in Charlottetown, a man sidled up in front of him and pied him.

Chrétien was whisked away by security. When he reappeared with the pie washed off his face, he did not initially want to talk about what happened.

Evan Brown, the man with the pie, was caught immediately after making contact with the prime minister. He was arrested and charged with assault — and later served a brief jail sentence.

'Next time it may not be a pie'

'No comment' on the pie incident

23 years ago
Duration 0:16
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien didn't immediately offer comment on the pie incident.

The incident raised questions about how such a lapse in security could have occurred — and how it could have unfolded differently.

"Next time it may not be a pie," said Myron Thompson, then an opposition critic for the Canadian Alliance, when speaking with CBC in Airdrie, Alta.

PC House Leader Peter MacKay said the same kind of thing would not be tolerated south of the border.

"It's hard to imagine this happening to Bill Clinton," MacKay said, according to a report on the pie incident from the Toronto Star.

'It shouldn't have happened'

23 years ago
Duration 0:30
The RCMP has questions to answer after the PM was hit in the face with a pie.

Following the incident, an RCMP spokesperson acknowledged to reporters "it shouldn't have happened." An investigation was set to take place to look into the force's security procedures.

That evening, Chrétien joked about the incident when speaking to supporters.

"You have developed a very funny way of serving pies these days," he said. "I'm not that hungry."

'The pie minister'

The pictures of Chrétien getting pied were shown on news broadcasts outside of Canada and provided newspaper editors with many pun-laden headlines to top their morning papers with the next day.

The Ottawa Sun dubbed him the "pie minister" with its front page headline, while the Charlottetown Guardian went with "Chrétien gets creamed."

Locally, Prince Edward Islanders weren't happy to see the province getting the wrong kind of publicity.

"People are feeling a little bit abashed that this happened here," said Roseanne Macdonald of the Guardian. "I mean, we're a pretty nice province."

PM-pie aftermath

23 years ago
Duration 0:37
The pie that hit Jean Chrétien made news across Canada and elsewhere.

However, a media consultant who spoke to CBC believed the incident could actually benefit Chrétien.

"He dealt with it in as dignified a fashion as anybody could under the circumstances," said Laura Peck.

"It's the prankster that looks like he's got pie on his face because most people are going to feel for [the prime minister]," she added.

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