Convention delegates and observers merged with a thousand other demonstrators, including PSAC members in the NCR, in front of the Prime Minister’s Office Tuesday, chanting “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Stephen Harper’s got to go,” and stood together to denounce the cuts to public services.
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The rally was part of May Day activities lined up in Ottawa, where the PSAC Convention is taking place. There were two thousand demonstrators chanting and waving flags and placards in front of the PMO, stopping traffic in two major intersections.
“Stephen, we’re just visiting today,” said John Gordon, the National President of the PSAC, in a speech to the crowd of demonstrators. “But we’re going to keep coming back and in greater numbers. So get used to it. At the next election, we’re going to give affected notices to all Tory MPs.”
Other speakers at the rally were Nathalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition, Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Philippe Lapointe of CLASSE (Coalition large de l’association pour une solidarité syndicale etudiante) a student union coalition formed among the striking students in Quebec.
The May Day rally was organized by the Solidarity Against Austerity network, a coalition of labour and community groups that PSAC is a member of.
Later in the afternoon, 60 PSAC members sat at the gallery in the House of Commons to show the Conservative party the faces behind the cuts.
Earlier during the Convention, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the NCR Larry Rousseau roused the 523 delegates and 254 observers with a fiery May Day speech.
“In a few hours, we will be in front of the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Rousseau, “and we want to tell Stephen Harper, ‘You think that the right way is the corporate way. We want to tell you to shove it up your corporate way.’
“Join me in celebrating May 1st, International Workers’ Day,” he concluded.