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Labour groups protest against Ontario's 'unfair' budget

Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Toronto Saturday to protest what they call an unfair Ontario budget.

The rally is part of a province-wide campaign to tell the minority Liberal government its budget cannot stand.

“Back off. This is crazy, this isn’t why you were elected,” said one protester.

“I came all the way from Windsor to show my dissatisfaction with the government,” said another demonstrator.

More than 90 labour and community organizations from across the province took part, with demonstrators marching through Yorkville.

“Symbolically that’s the shopping centre for the one per cent I guess you could say, it’s trying to highlight the unfairness of the budget,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, who added his members are being asked to carry the burden of paying down the deficit.

The demonstration comes just three days before the Liberals face a crucial vote that could send them back to the polls. A vote will be held on Tuesday, with the Liberals needing the support of two opposition MPP’s to avoid an election.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was among roughly a dozen speakers to address the cheering crowd in front of the legislature.

She says while she would rather avoid triggering another provincial election, she calls Liberals’ budget “profoundly flawed.”

“A lot of these people (the protesters) are the normal voting base for the Liberal government, and that’s the part people will be surprised about,” added Ryan.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has prided himself on maintaining good relations with the unions.

But he has come down hard on them lately as the government grapples with a massive deficit.

The Ontario Labour Federation says today’s gathering is needed for the premier to “get the message” that many of his supporters are upset with proposed service cuts and wage freezes.

With files from 680 News staff Irene Preklet