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Day of Action: Not the usual commute

The Story

Will this morning's commute be a picture of chaos or calm? As traffic reporter for CBC Radio's Metro Morning since 1972, Jim Curran understands how blizzards, accidents and roadwork can slow the flow of cars downtown from Toronto's suburbs. But nothing could prepare him for what to expect today, a "Day of Action" during which unions and their supporters shut down public transit and demonstrate against budget cuts by Ontario Premier Mike Harris. By 8:40 a.m. it's apparent none of Toronto's one million daily transit users will get to work by subway, bus or streetcar. Curran says people have elected not to drive to work either, making for remarkably few cars on the road. Metro Morning host Andy Barrie interviews an economist working from home and a student waiting for a flight at Toronto's airport on how the protest is affecting their day.

Medium: Radio
Program: Metro Morning
Broadcast Date: Oct. 25, 1996
Guests: Michael Bliss, Patty Croft, Elaine Ellis, Jennifer Fairhall
Host: Andy Barrie
Reporter: John McGrath, Jim Curran, Mary Wiens
Duration: 18:04

Did You know?

• Friday, Oct. 25, 1996 was the first of two "Days of Action" planned by labour groups. The goal for the first day was to shut down the city by preventing people from working. In a report published the next day, the Toronto Star said: "Labour's declared goal was to politicize and mobilize the public to stop the Harris government in its relentless pursuit of cutbacks in public services."

• Though the protest succeeded in closing down the transit system for the day, business was not adversely affected. Many companies planned for it by working harder early that week and keeping workers in downtown hotels overnight.
• The second Day of Action was a parade and mass rally at the provincial legislature. Estimates of the size of the crowd diverged wildly, with organizers claiming 250,000 people in attendance and the police saying 75,000 were there.

Metro Morning has been CBC's Toronto-area morning radio show since 1972.
• Host Andy Barrie joined the show in 1996 after hosting radio and television programs for various private stations in Toronto and Montreal. Born in the United States, he moved to Canada in 1969 after being drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.
• In spring 2004 Metro Morning was Toronto's top-rated radio program in the morning time slot. 


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