An RCMP member directs seal-hunt protester Emily Lavender to the protest area during a federal Tory party fundraiser Friday in West Kelowna.
The 25-year-old who lives in Victoria has dogged Prime Minister Stephen Harper for years, dressing up as a baby seal to protest Canada's annual seal hunt on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
She trailed Harper to West Kelowna on Friday to try to catch his attention as he entered a Conservative barbecue at Quails' Gate Estate Winery on Boucherie Road.
Lavender started waving a sign at the main entrance but was told by RCMP security that wasn't the official protest area, that it was south at another winery entrance. Not dissuaded, she crossed the road and went in the opposite direction, continuing her protest while standing in the driveway of a private residence.
"Millions of tax dollars are going to an industry that is virtually dead. The U.S., European Union and, most recently, Russia, which imported 95 per cent of Canadian seal fur, have all banned seal products," she said.
"So we're calling on the prime minister to use his influence to stop the tax waste and end the commercial seal slaughter once and for all. After seeing footage of the last moments of seals gasping their last breath and choking on their own blood as their skull is being crushed, this is a cause that is really important to me."
With PETA's help, Lavender even moved to Ottawa for 3 1/2 years in 2009 "to be a constant presence and reminder" on the steps of Harper's private residence, his office, other places he frequented and cities across Canada.
"I was pretty much dedicated to it. The seal is my second skin," Lavender said.
She often sees Harper twice a day in the capital.
"I still keep an eye on him every day," she said.
Lavender was joined by Kevin Proteau of Locals Supporting Locals and Heidi Osterman of the True Food Foundation, who were protesting genetically modified foods.
Albin Stroniarz also held a handmade sign protesting his federal pension of $316.25 a month.
"I can't work because I have to support my sick wife 24-7," he said.