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Demonstrators Put Liberal Leadership on Notice

Several thousand rally outside the Liberal leadership convention.

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While inside Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre (aka Maple Leaf Gardens) Ontario Liberal delegates chanted and voted, outside demonstrators shouted out their dissatisfaction with the ruling party, protesting the governing party as they gathered to choose a new leader. An estimated 10,000–15,000 people jammed Carlton, filling the street and spilling over onto adjacent Church and Yonge.

If signs are a reasonable measure, most of the protesters represented unions angry at Bill 115 and the McGuinty government’s newly high-handed approach to collective bargaining, but the crowd covered the whole spectrum of anti-Liberal activists, from Communists to wind turbine opponents to pit bull enthusiasts. The whole affair was orderly and short-lived: the mass of protesters marched in just before 2 p.m. and by 4:30 the street was largely empty. Minutes after Kathleen Wynne was declared the Liberal’s new leader, several of the unions who took part in the march issued press releases, calling on her to make repairing the party’s relationship with teachers her first priority.

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