Political Protest, From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Klein Pied

Two acts of political protest took place today in Canada.

The first happened this morning when, during his annual flapjack breakfast for the Calgary Stampede, Alberta premier Ralph Klein was hit in the face by a banana creme pie. The protester had managed to sneak himself and his pie in and make his move before being tackled by provincial security officials and handed over to police.

Pie-ing politicians is something of a Canadian tradition. More accurately, it's a Quebec tradition, where premeirs Bernard Landry, Jean Charest, Jacques Parizeau and even prime minister Jean Chretien have received a pie in the face (Jean Chretien received his while visiting Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, making him the first Canadian politician to be pied outside of Quebec, I believe).

I don't like Ralph Klein's politics, and it was likely his politics, particularly his opposition to same-sex marriages, that sparked the pie incident. And I admit that I chuckled a bit to see the banana creme dripping from his face, but I don't think this incident is something we should be encouraging.

The protester will likely face charges of assault, and well he should, because only the creamy filling separates a pie in the face from a punch in the face, and no matter how much you might disagree with a person's politics, very little gives you the right to punch a man in the face. And in this day and age, this incident raises questions about the premier's security. How was it that a protester was able to sneak through? What if he wasn't just interested in making the premier look bad; what if, instead of a pie, he had a bowl of acid? What if Jean Chretien got an acid bath instead of a pie? Would we be laughing then?

The protester is very lucky he didn't try this on the president of the United States.

While providing a humourous picture or two, this act of protest accomplishes little. It reduces political discourse to the level of the schoolyard -- if that's not insulting school children too much.

On the other hand, a protest took place at Queen's Park that made a very humourous and effective point. Protesters against new regulations released by Queen's Park on the logging industry late this past Friday (and you know, when a government releases something late on a Friday, they know it's bad. This way, they avoid the media attention for a whole weekend. Good news always comes on a Monday; bad news on a Friday) by staging a mock strip-tease.

Specifically, a man dressed up to look like Ernie Eves danced and stripped down to his underwear while another man, dressed to look like a lumberjack, shoved monopoly money in the "premier's" thong.

Now that's funny. And that's a point. Indeed, it's a political point that I will remember for a very long time.

Update (9:14 pm): I couldn't find an article on this protest, until now. Here's the link.

I read this very interesting report about these four-metre long sharks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence stalking Caribou at the mouths of northern Quebec rivers.

Referred to as the Greenland shark, I humbly suggest that they rename it the Great White North shark. (rimshot!)

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