Quebec in a stew over 'pie pipers'

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Mon, 17 May 1999 07:36:26 -0400


Monday, May 17, 1999

Quebec in a stew over 'pie pipers'

Assault or protest?

By CP
MONTREAL --  Federal Unity Minister Stephane Dion was
doling out dessert at a soup kitchen recently when he was given
his just desserts.

That's the view of the two Entartistes -- pie-tossers -- who
smushed their trademark cream pies into Dion's face.

Dion's sin, in their eyes, was making "political capital on the
backs of the poor" by staging a media event at the soup kitchen.

Since Dion's close encounter of the creamy kind, debate has
raged in Quebec about whether the hit-and-run tactics of the
Entartistes are assault or slapstick political satire.

Dion clearly thinks it's assault. He ordered an aide to call the
police and file a complaint minutes after he was hit.

Dion was the 11th victim of the self-styled Entartistes who take
aim at public figures and see themselves as a voice of the
powerless.

"It's to bring politicians back down to earth," said Pope-Tarte,
who goes by his code name. "We're court jesters but it's done
with respect. The pie is very benign.

"It isn't an attack against the person but a symbolic attack."

Some people don't agree. One pie man is going to court on
Wednesday for hitting former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau.

"When Mr. Dion says there are lots of ways of showing our
displeasure (with government decisions), I wish he would show
us how because when people peacefully demonstrated at APEC
they were sprayed with pepper," Pope-Tarte said.

The Entartistes' manifesto says pies should not be thrown but
lovingly pushed into the target's face.