POLITICS

4 protests that got close to Stephen Harper

01/06/2014 04:23 EST | Updated 03/08/2014 05:59 EST
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

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

As Gov.-Gen. David Johnston prepares to deliver the speech from the throne, instantly infamous "Rogue Page" BrigetteDePape 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

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

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.