[Hpn] Alberta Premier Ralph Klein gets his just desserts
Mon, 7 Jul 2003 14:22:10 -0400
Jul. 7, 2003. 12:38 PM The Toronto Star
Klein pied at Stampede breakfast
Alberta premier intends to press charges
CALGARY - Alberta Premier Ralph Klein got a pie square in the face Monday
during his annual Stampede breakfast.
Klein had just started to address the crowd and was commenting on what a great
job Agriculture Minister Shirley McClellan was doing with the mad cow crisis
when a man, who appeared to be in his 20s, hit Klein hard with a banana cream
As several breakfast-goers screamed, the man was tackled by provincial
security officers as he tried to get away and was taken into police custody.
The Conservative premier who is more used to being accepted by the public
because of his Every Man image, did not look shaken, although he did appear
somewhat irritated. He then smiled as he tried to wipe away the pie remnants
with his fingers before being handed a towel.
"It tastes not bad," he said.
He did not finish addressing the crowd before going inside McDougall Centre,
which houses southern Alberta's government offices, to take a shower.
Klein emerged later to talk to reporters, although he did not finish the
He said his first reaction was one of anger and the man's actions put him in a
"It speaks to his education or lack thereof to do this in front of 3,000 or
4,000 people," the premier said
He intends to press charges, he said.
"If I want to say 'Let the poor fellow go' that gives everyone free rein to do
this kind of thing or worse," he said.
"It doesn't say anything about politics. It says something about the stupidity
of this young person, who will now have the criminal record and who will be
in trouble, I think, at his university.
"I hope he's not studying political science."
He said he didn't see it coming until the man was right there.
"A pie today, it could be something else tomorrow, and that's why I'm not
going to let this go without a prosecution."
Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper was supposed to make an appearance at
Klein's breakfast, but did not appear to be near the premier when he was
The Calgary Stampede and Rodeo started Friday and runs for 10 days. Klein
holds a flapjack breakfast every year during the event.
A single case of mad cow disease was confirmed in a northern Alberta animal
Klein is by no means the first politician to be pied in recent years.
Jean Charest was pied in April, two days before his Liberals ousted the Parti
Quebecois and he was elected premier of Quebec. He was also struck in the
face and head with a cream pie before he was to address supporters in the
Laurentians north of Montreal. He blocked a second pie thrown by others, but
it splattered on his wife Michele Dionne.
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stephane
Dion, Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay and former Quebec premier Jacques
Parizeau have all been pied.
Chrétien was hit in the face with a cream pie in Charlottetown in August 2000.
Evan Wade Brown served eight days in jail for assault.