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Ottawa teachers confront Liberal leaders

Chantal Sundaram

December 19, 2012

Many hundreds turned out in the cold wet snow in Ottawa to confront the Liberal Leadership debate at Carleton University on December 18.
Most represented were teachers, carrying placards of the elementary (ETFO) and secondary (OSSTF) teachers’ unions, with the clear slogan: Kill Bill 115, the legislation that attacks fundamental free collective bargaining rights for teachers.
But they were joined by flags and banners from OPSEU, CUPE, CAW, PSAC, CAUT, and a banner that read “Students and Workers: Same Fight.”
Due to alleged security concerns over the protest, the building was closed and student exams were moved elsewhere. Protestors confronted everyone entering chanting “Kill the Bill!” but posed no threat of violence.
Liberal MP Gerrard Kennedy came outside and attempted to glad-hand the crowd, campaigning for protestor votes on the basis of his supposed opposition to Bill 115. And while some shook his hand, hoping for a commitment to fight for the repeal of the Bill, others heckled him for his complicity in his party’s assault on union rights.
It was a show of force in the Ottawa area, following the ETFO one-day picket lines the week before. It is surely a sign of more labour unrest – and support for it – to come.

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