The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 01/26/2013 2:12 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 01/26/2013 5:24 PM
TORONTO - Thousands of protesters jammed the streets outside the Ontario Liberal leadership convention Saturday afternoon as delegates voted for the party's next leader and the province's new premier.
Police officers stood behind a barricade and let delegates in and out of the former Maple Leaf Gardens in downtown Toronto while the crowd of public school teachers, other union members and community groups let loose an avalanche of noise punctuated by whistles and drums.
"What's disgusting? Union busting!" a street full of protesters bellowed as police looked on.
The bulk of the protesters were public elementary and secondary school teachers, who were joined by other public sector unions, as well as the Canadian Auto Workers and United Steel Workers, among other labour members and community groups.
The demonstration started two hours earlier in a nearby park, where protesters listened to labour leaders and activists condemn the Liberal government's decision to impose contracts on public school teachers. Speakers decried the move as a violation of workers' democratic rights, and also railed against budget cutbacks.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation president Ken Coran said the next Liberal leader — who will become the province's new premier — must negotiate contracts with public elementary and secondary teachers.
He had one key message for the next premier when it comes to dealing with unions.
"The lesson is simple. Be fair. Be respectful. And be democratic."
Protesters, many of whom arrived in a fleet of chartered buses, then began a brief march to the nearby convention site.
Some delegates smiled as they walked by the spirited wall of protesters. Others were met with loud boos.
One supporter of candidate Kathleen Wynne leaned over the barricade to hand an apple, coffee and bag of chips to an older protester.
Teacher Craig Breen said he had to show his opposition to the imposition of teachers' contracts.
"People here provide a great service to kids, and the reaction of our government to our fine service is to trample on our rights," he said.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Fontaine rushed to hospital before her disappearance
Teen gang member accused of supplying gun in nightclub shooting denied bail
Steeves wants to make panhandling at intersections illegal
Residents devastated by fire at iconic West Hawk Inn
New kitchen a blessing for mission
Specially trained dogs enter province's fight against invasive zebra mussels
Moose hunting ban expanded in western Manitoba
Paul Jordan visiting the Free Press Cafe
Key of Bart - Evil Las Vegas
Wasylycia-Leis in command: poll
Life sentence for man who killed ex
Bombers QB ready to play despite banging throwing hand
Steeves denies asking Bowman not to run
Bowman says Steeves should take own advice on dropping out of race
PUB to MPI: Give us what we want
Canada, US push for regulatory harmonization
Fire destroys house on late author Clancy's estate
49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL
After deaths, NYC music festival tightens security
Quebec agrees to proceed with energy strategy
You can lead the coarse, but you can't make 'em think
Rollover near Birch River proves fatal
It's time for election signs
Mint unveils new Superman coin collection
Winnipeg lab created, tested Ebola drug ZMapp
Juno Award-winning Jason Plumb, formerly of the Waltons, to play at News Café
Manitoba records first West Nile case of the year
Washington judge upholds small city's pot shop ban
Arrest made in Point Douglas homicide
Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal
Rescuers locate 20 of 24 trapped in Nicaragua mine
Brazilian club promises to punish racist fans
Cee Lo Green enters no contest plea in drug case
Mix of sun and rain for Labour Day weekend
Four arrested following drug bust in Transcona
Man in unstable condition after being assaulted on Henry Avenue
New school zone speed limits in effect Monday
Paul Gross movie seeks local extras of Afghan, Pakistani descent
Lost man lived on all-dressed chips, rainwater
Labour Council picnic to celebrate workers