Prime Minister greeted by protesting students and workers

By Danielle Cossar
I.J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

Protestors meet Chretien's motorcade at the Softworld 98 confrence

Clip 1 - Chretien arrives

When Prime Minister Jean Chretien arrived in St. John's on September 22 to make a speech at the Softworld ‘98 conference, he was greeted by a peaceful -- but extremely vocal -- protest outside the Delta Hotel.

A large group of federal employees had gathered to protest the government's decision to appeal the recent Supreme Court ruling, which made payment equity for public workers mandatory.

The workers' demonstration was organized by their union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada. The PSAC members were joined by post-secondary students who were speaking out against federal government cuts to education funding and the RCMP crackdown on protestors at last year's APEC conference.

Even though the protesters made no violent gestures, a contingent of RCMP officers almost as large as the protest itself, surrounded the group and prevented any attempt to talk with the Prime Minister.

Police presence was high during the Prime Minister's visit

Clip 2 - Chretien leaves

Many protesters had originally believed that Chretien would say a few words and perhaps answer questions, but instead, he only waved at the crowd before being hurried into the building by security.

Although somewhat disappointed, the PSAC protesters said they will continue to make their point by circulating petitions and sending letters and e-mail to the federal government.


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