POLITICS
06/04/2011 11:33 EDT | Updated 08/04/2011 05:12 EDT

Brigette DePape, Senate Protester And Performance Artist, And Her Instant Rise To Fame (VIDEO)

CP PHOTO

Brigette DePape stood up in the Senate chamber and with some silent action, a sign and a press release, stole the spotlight at the Throne Speech.

As Stephen Harper's majority government looked to set the agenda, with ambitious plans on crime and cost cutting, it was Brigette DePape, that was trending on Twitter.

DePape, in her final act as a Senate Page before she lost her job, staged an unprecedented protest on the floor of the Senate chamber. She walked out into the red-carpeted centre aisle carrying a red "Stop Harper" sign that she'd pulled from beneath her skirt as Gov. Gen. David Johnston read the new government's speech from the throne.

The University of Ottawa graduate stood silently holding her hand-painted sign for at least 20 seconds -- while the vice-regal made a barely perceptible hitch in his address and a stunned room full of dignitaries and invited guests stared in mute astonishment.

With Harper, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk -- among others -- looking on, the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons finally escorted DePape out of the Senate.

The reaction, as evidenced by more than one Tweet and Facebook post on Saturday morning, was summed up by this comment: "Best Contempt of Parliament ever!", posted on one of her fan pages.

Or as #cdnpoli member Antonia Zerbisias put it:

I wonder if all the Harper fans now dumping on #Brigette for dissing the Senate dumped on PM when he was in contempt? #cdnpoliless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

As we see the fun suggestion that DePape should one day run for Prime Minister the burning question on some minds (not all) is, Who is Brigette DePape?

As DePape said on national TV Friday afternoon, she decided she couldn't "sit idly by" and made the choice to protest against Harper.

"I decided to do this because Harper's agenda is destructive for people who are living in Canada as well as for my generation," she told the CBC's Evan Solomon. (VIDEO)

When asked why she smuggled in a sign, she said "I think we need to find creative ways to resist the Harper government... People from all walks of live need to think of ways to resist it..."

She also told The Toronto Star that she was inspired by the Arab spring movement.

A video of a 2010 TEDx youth event in Ottawa shows another side of DePape, as a performance artist and activist. In this clip below, first about a play called "She Rules with Iron", and second about her call to arms about art and action, you get a good idea of her motivations.

"We want to create a world that is more just and sustainable," DePape says in the video, citing a number of issues she's passionate about, including the receding glaciers.

"Art is a way of coping with problems," she told the TEDx crowd.

Expressing art, though, can lead to other problems, as she told the CBC.

"I'm looking for employment opportunities."

With files from The Canadian Press