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'Concerned citizens' interrupt Flaherty's budget speech

Protesters are escorted out of the House of Commons during Finance Minister Jim Flaherty budget speech on March 29, 2012.

Dave Chan/dave chan The Globe and Mail

A group of about 16 protesters who say they are concerned about cuts to programs and services were escorted from the House of Commons after they interrupted Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget speech.

Wearing identical tee shirts, they stood in the visitor's gallery and shouted "Where are we in the budget?" as Mr. Flaherty delivered his annual financial plan on Thursday afternoon.

They were taken by security guards to the basement of the Centre Block then released about a half hour later without being charged.

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"We're just a bunch of concerned citizens who really wanted to highlight how bad this budget is," said Jo Wood, 73, who spoke for the group as they left the building.

"The pretext is that we are running out of money and have to go in to all this austerity when actually we feel that things like prisons and military jets and so on are being heavily funded," said Ms. Wood who said she and her cohorts were not affiliated with any political party or organization.

"So we think it's a matter of priorities and we think they've got the wrong priorities for the average Canadian," she said.

The protesters, who ranged in age from young to old, organized their disruption before the details of the budget were made public. But Ms. Wood said the government had forecasted the measures that would be in it.

Her group believes there are alternatives to cutting jobs, she said, adding that she would like to see more help for education, social services, child care and health care.

"We were pleased that we were able to get our budget message out," she said. "We were pleased to be able to speak for ordinary people and we hope they will join us in protesting in the future."

The protesters have also create a website, which contains short videos or statements about what kind of budget they want.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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