Would hamper fundraising, travel
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An MP from Newfoundland and Labrador says Monday's incident in which the federal fisheries minister was hit in the face with a pie should prompt Ottawa to look into whether PETA, an international animal-rights group, should be labelled a terrorist organization.
Gerry Byrne, the Liberal MP for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, said the behaviour of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has claimed responsibility for the pie attack, was threatening, intimidating and puts seal hunters at risk.
"There has to be a review whether or not PETA has crossed the line now by attacking a federal minister of the Crown for the purpose of public intimidation of an office holder," Byrne told CBC News.
Police charged a 37-year-old woman with assault after she hit Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea in the face with a pie at an event in Burlington, Ont.
Shea was delivering a speech at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters when Emily McCoy of New York City stood up in the front row, walked up to Shea and pushed the pie, made of soybean curd, into her face.
PETA said McCoy is a member of PETA who is protesting what the group calls "the government's ill-advised sanction of the seal slaughter."
In October, McCoy was charged with trespassing in Charlottetown in connection with a PETA event that disrupted a lunch hosted by the Fisheries Council of Canada. Shea's staff is reviewing security precautions for the minister.
Byrne said Canada's Criminal Code describes a terrorist organization as any group that disrupts lawful activities to commit an act for political, religious or ideological purposes, and that causes the public to be intimidated.
He said Monday's incident could be a test case to try to label PETA as a terrorist group, putting a stranglehold on PETA's ability to raise money.
"It would be illegal to make funds, to contribute funds, to what is termed a terrorist organization," Byrne said.
"It would also severely restrict the movements between borders, between Canada and the U.S., of PETA members, especially their executive, and it would cause a matter of surveillance to occur of PETA members who would be labelled as members of a terrorist organization."
Shea said she is not daunted by getting a pie in the face.
"I can tell you that this incident actually strengthens my resolve to support the seal hunt," she said. "If this is what it takes to stand up for Canadian sealing families and this industry I'm certainly very proud to do it."
Shea said she believes the attack on the seal hunt is just the beginning, and other industries will become targets.
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