4 protests that got close to Stephen Harper

Environmental activists seem to be particularly skillful at evading security just long enough to get within sign-waving distance of the prime minister. Here's a look at four high-profile protests that have managed to get close to Stephen Harper.

Activists disrupt Harper event RAW

8 years ago
Duration 0:42
Two climate change activists sneak up behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a question and answer session at the Vancouver Board of Trade

Stephen Harper hasn't yet had to come up with his own version of the Shawinigan handshake, but he has found himself surprisingly close to protesters in recent years.

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien actually tussled with a protester in 1996, grasping the man's throat and pushing him aside during a Flag Day event in Hull, Que., a move that became known by the name of Chrétien's hometown. "Some people came my way ... and I had to go, so if you're in my way," Chrétien said at the time, before driving away.

Chrétien was less successful in dealing with a protester in 2000, when he was hit in the face with a cream pie in Charlottetown, again raising questions about his security detail.

But an earlier RCMP security breach was far more serious, when Chrétien's wife, Aline, came face-to-face with an intruder at the door of the bedroom at 24 Sussex in 1995.

Even with the Prime Minister's Office's legendary penchant for micromanaging Harper's public events, politically driven protesters have managed to evade security just long enough to get within a few feet of him on more than one occasion.

Here's a look at recent incursions into Harper's personal space

1. Question period protest, Oct. 26, 2009

Parliament Hill security guards haul away a protester who was part of a larger group that disrupted question period in 2009. (CBC)

After surreptitiously stacking the Commons gallery with like-minded mischief-makers, approximately 200 sign-waving, slogan-chanting young activists bring question period to an abrupt, if temporary, halt in support of a New Democrat-backed climate change bill.

2. Page 'stops' throne speech, June 3, 2011

Senate page Brigette DePape unfolded a 'Stop Harper' sign on the floor of the red chamber during the throne speech in June 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

As Gov.-Gen. David Johnston prepares to deliver the speech from the throne, instantly infamous "Rogue Page" Brigette De Pape briefly upstages the official event with her one-woman "Stop Harper" protest.

DePape, a recent University of Ottawa graduate who was nearing the end of her term with the Senate, was immediately fired and has since co-founded an anti-Harper website. She was also listed as the contact on the press release that claimed credit for the Vancouver Board of Trade protest in January 2014. 

3. Spilt oil at Westminster, June 13, 2013

Anti-oilsands protestors greeted the Canadian prime minister as he arrived at the British Houses of Parliament Thursday. (Reuters) (Paul Hackett/Reuters)

A European anti-oilsands group targets the PM's speech to British MPs and other Westminster VIPs. "Guests, who did not want to be named, said the demonstrators were environmental activists who had spilt oil on the floor of the Royal Gallery outside," the Independent reported.

4. Vancouver Board of Trade breach, Jan. 6, 2014

A protester holds a sign at the Vancouver Board of Trade event featuring Stephen Harper Monday. The man and a second protester were removed from the stage. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Moments before his scheduled Q&A at the Vancouver Board of Trade is set to begin, a pair of placard-wielding climate change activists manage to get within a few feet of an apparently oblivious PM before being stopped by security.