Thousands protest PM Harper in Toronto

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

NDP leader Jack Layton addressing protesters at today's protest. Gerard Kennedy and Dion are among those looking on.
Image: John Maclennan.

Around five thousand people from all walks of life jammed Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday in Toronto to demand that Canadian Parliament work for the real needs of Canadians. Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and NDP Leader Jack Layton addressed the crowd, pointing out that the 62% majority of the voters voted against Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's right-wing politics. Harper campaigned on the premise of bringing in policies to stimulate the economy during the current economic downturn.

Harper shut down Parliament last week until January 26th to prevent opposition parties from defeating his government with a vote of non-confidence. The centrist Liberals and social democratic New Democratic Party formed an unprecedented coalition with the support of the Quebec based Bloc Quebecois to stop Harper from banning strikes in the public sector, preventing pay equity settlements, and removing public funding to all political parties.

Latest figures show seventy-seven thousand more workers lost their jobs in November. Signs in the crowd were visibly in both French and English.

The event was Hosted by TV star Mary Walsh, who, in a nod to recent U.S. elections, led a resounding chant of "Yes We Can-ada!" The main message of the day was that people want a government representing the majority of Canadian voters to tackle the economic crisis. Performers on stage included Samba Squad and members of Broken Social Scene. The day ended with the singing of "O Canada".

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Photo credits John Maclennan

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