Protesters make presence known outside Liberal convention
Posted: Jan 26, 2013 10:20 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 26, 2013 6:57 PM ET
Thousands of union workers, public school teachers and other critics of the Ontario government protested in downtown Toronto on Saturday, as the governing Liberals and hundreds of delegates convened to select a new party leader.
At its peak, the mass of protesters was estimated to be 10,000 to 15,000, the CBC’s Steven D'Souza reported.
However, just after 4:15 p.m. ET, the area in front of the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the former Maple Leaf Gardens, was all clear as the protestors departed.
The groups taking part in the protest included members of the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Canadian Auto Workers, as well as major public-sector teachers' unions.
While many of these larger groups were in Toronto to protest the government’s anti-strike legislation used to impose contracts on teachers, D’Souza said there were other smaller groups present Saturday for separate issues involving the government.
Some protesters gathered outside the leadership convention from the early morning, while a much larger mass of protesters participated in a march that began in nearby Allan Gardens and circled past the convention.
Toronto police commended protest organizers for keeping things peaceful and without incident on Saturday, D'Souza said.
New premier to be named
The Liberals are in the midst of a leadership renewal process that was prompted by the resignation of Premier Dalton McGuinty, who announced that he was stepping down in October but agreed to stay on until the party selects a new leader.
The Liberals enraged many educators in the public school system by imposing contracts on elementary teachers through the use of controversial legislation that also gave the government the power to quash strikes.
While the government has since repealed Bill 115, also known as the Putting Students First Act, the rift between the teachers and the Liberals has not been healed. That's the same legislation that many unions have opposed, including those involved in the protest on Saturday.
Public elementary teachers launched a series of rotating, one-day strikes in December to protest the bill.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario said some of its members would be in Toronto Saturday "to protest the damage that continues to be done to public education by the Ontario Liberal Party and Bill 115."
For the majority of the nine-plus years that the Liberals have been in power in Ontario, they had enjoyed the support of public-sector teachers.With files from the CBC's Steven D’Souza and The Canadian Press
Latest Sudbury News Headlines
- Royal Bank pledges not to outsource jobs for cash savings
- Royal Bank has promised it will never outsource a Canadian job to a foreign worker solely to save money. more »
- Construction to start on Sudbury water sports centre
- Sudbury's canoe club is preparing for what it hopes will be the last summer in its current building, as construction is expected to begin on the multi-million-dollar Northern Water Sports Centre. more »
- 20K trees to be planted at old Sudbury mine site
- The City of Greater Sudbury is ready for another season of tree planting — and this year it is getting a significant boost. more »
- Boaters not getting message about life jackets: OPP
- Boaters are still not getting the message about life jackets says OPP Inspector Mark Andrews. more »
Top News Headlines
- Toronto mayor's brother says he never dealt drugs
- The brother of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has vehemently denied allegations in Saturday's Globe and Mail that he was involved in the illicit drug trade in the 1980s. more »
- Hockey Canada votes to ban bodychecking in peewee hockey
- Hockey Canada's board of directors voted to eliminate bodychecking from peewee-level hockey on Saturday in Charlottetown. more »
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- In a key speech this week, the U.S. president set out a host of supposed new safeguards for America's controversial practice of remote-controlled rough justice. But as Neil Macdonald writes, the underlying rationale for drone use has not fundamentally changed. more »
- Ontario man lost in Australian mountains has survival skills
- The sister of an Ontario man who disappeared in Australia's Snowy Mountains nearly two weeks ago says she remains hopeful he will be found, partly because of his training as a Canadian Forces reservist. more »