They quietly lined the sidewalk, marching single file, counter-clockwise, as cars on Kilborn Ave. randomly honked in support.
But signs of rebellion were everywhere.
“DALTON…You are in very serious TROUBLE. You have lost the goodwill of the TEACHERS OF ONTARIO,” read one poster.
More than 100 public elementary teachers from four south end schools — including Alta Vista, Bayview, and Fielding Drive — picketed in front of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office Wednesday.
“We are exercising our legal and democratic constitutional right to strike in protest of Bill 115 and the government’s rights to collectively bargain,” said occasional teacher Glenda Davis, donning a Santa hat.
Teachers who live in Ottawa South but aren’t assigned to a specific school also showed up, said Ottawa Carleton Elementary Occasional Teachers’ Association president David Wildman.
“It’s symbolic that we’re here at the Premier’s office,” said Wildman.
In -8C, the group kept it moving and drank coffee to stay warm.
Many teachers carried red signs reading, “Respect Teachers. Respect Collective Bargaining,” while a fair share wore red T-shirts printed with McGuinty’s mug.
There was no chance of catching the Premier in the parking lot — McGuinty was in Toronto.
Nonetheless, “we just want to send the message to Mr. McGuinty and his Liberals that this is not acceptable,” said Davis.
The one-day strike also saw teachers turn up at the offices of Liberal MPPs Yasir Naqvi, Madeleine Meilleur, and Bob Chiarelli.
Teachers left room for motorists to enter and exit the strip mall, which includes a bank, food market, and other offices.
“We have no intention of disrupting the businesses in this little mall. It’s not their fight,” said Davis.
Teachers have a Dec. 31 deadline to negotiate a new deal.