Unions march toward Ontario Liberal leadership convention in Toronto | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Unions march toward Ontario Liberal leadership convention in Toronto

An Ontario Liberal Party delegate is verbally abused as protesters gather outside Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday, January 26, 2013 while the party gathers to vote for a new provincial Leader and in turn a new premier of Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

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, union members and their supporters jeered.

Charter buses dropped off demonstrators earlier in the day for a protest at a nearby park.

The crowd roared as labour leaders took to the stage ahead of the march, condemning the government's decision to impose contracts on public school teachers as a violation of workers' democratic rights.

Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told protesters to voice their disapproval for the leadership candidates on social media.

The head of the union representing public high school teachers said he wants the next premier to mend the government's relationship with public sector unions.

Ken Coran said the next government needs to be fair, respectful and democratic.

Pickets got an early start Saturday morning, with dozens posted outside the convention despite the chilly weather.

The OFL, one of the province's largest labour groups, said more than 100 unions and community organizations were expected to attend and show opposition to anti-strike legislation and budget cutbacks by the Liberal government.

The union said 131 buses had arrived in town carrying demonstrators from all corners of the province.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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