Monday, September 26, 2005

Rumbling On The Hill: Guild Protests in Ottawa

OTTAWA – It's a rainly, blustery morning in the nation's capital. It reminds me more of Vancouver than Ottawa. Nevertheless, more than 500 locked out employees are picketing the opening of Parliament. Six busloads of Guild members left Toronto at 1 am and arrived here around dawn. And there are 100 of our colleagues from CBC Ottawa, plus many from our French service in this area, too.

Speaking of our locked out Radio-Canada people, it all sounds so much better in French: the opening of Parliament = ouverture du Parlement; Wellington Street picket line = piquet Wellington. I like the element of "pique" included in that last phrase.

Well, no matter what language is used and no matter how you describe it, the current situation still sucks.

But there is some hope...the Minister of Labour, Joe Fontana, is to speak today with chief negotiators from management and the union. In fact, as I write, he is talking with them at a location across the river in Hull. Needless to say, we fervently hope there is a breakthrough that will get us back to work.

At 11 am, there will be speakers at the Peace Tower – among them, MPs Charlie Angus, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton and Ed Komarnicki. I'll try to get back to you after that and let you know what happens.

- Shelagh

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