Trudeau and other leaders on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday issued the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women:

“Today, on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, we remember the 14 young women who were murdered and 13 others injured at the École Polytechnique de Montréal on December 6, 1989. Their lives were so tragically cut short simply because they were women.

“For 33 years, we have held them in our thoughts. Geneviève Bergeron. Maryse Laganière. Hélène Colgan. Maryse Leclair. Nathalie Croteau. Anne-Marie Lemay. Barbara Daigneault. Sonia Pelletier. Anne-Marie Edward. Michèle Richard. Maud Haviernick. Annie St-Arneault. Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz. Annie Turcotte. We will never forget them.

“On this day, and throughout the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we acknowledge that the hatred that motivated this tragic mass shooting is still a very real threat for women in Canada and around the world. This is particularly true for marginalized and racialized women.

“Across the country this past week, we have been mourning the tragic killing of four Indigenous women in Manitoba: Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and a fourth woman who remains unidentified at this time. We will remember them as mothers, daughters, sisters, and caring community members. There is more work to do to stop this senseless violence and put an end to the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people. We will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous families, Survivors, leaders, and partners, as well as with provinces and territories, to implement the MMIWG National Action Plan and the Federal Pathway to make our communities safer.

“The Government of Canada is working to end gender-based violence so that all women, girls, and gender-diverse people can feel safe. Our Gender-Based Violence Strategy is advancing efforts to help prevent and address gender-based violence, support Survivors and their families, and promote justice. We are also supporting provinces and territories in implementing the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, launched last month, which sets a framework for anyone facing gender-based violence to have reliable and timely access to protection and services, no matter where they live. In addition, the government provided funding for women’s shelters across the country, crisis hotlines, and organizations helping women flee violence.

“We are also helping to protect women and girls by keeping guns out of our communities. Earlier this fall, the government implemented a national freeze on the sale, purchase, and transfer of handguns, which will make communities safer and help save lives. And Bill C-21 proposes Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation.

“I encourage all Canadians to honour the victims and Survivors of the tragedy at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. Today, we wear a white ribbon, observe a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m., and support Survivors and those affected by gender-based violence. We will continue to do everything we can to build a safer, more inclusive future for everyone.”

David Eby
Photo: Eby website

PREMIER David Eby and Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, said:

“Each year in Canada, we mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day, we remember the 14 women who were murdered at École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.

“These murders took place 33 years ago and yet misogyny, violence and femicide against women and girls remains a reality in communities throughout our province and country.

“Year after year, we come together to honour and mourn the 14 stolen lives of École Polytechnique. And we pay respect to all those who have faced violence and had their lives irrevocably changed because of it.

“We honour and remember the 14 women who were killed on Dec. 6, 1989: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte.

“The Montreal massacre demonstrated what many of us throughout Canada already understood: that misogyny and gender-based violence are systemic harms that continue to be all too common in our communities, schools and homes.

“Even today, gender-based violence remains a horrific reality for people in Canada and B.C. According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, one woman or girl is killed every other day, on average, somewhere in our country. About once a week, a woman is killed by her partner in Canada.

“We know that Indigenous women and girls, people of colour, transgender people and others in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and sex workers are at even greater risk of being targeted with violence. We stand with those who have faced violence and with the families who have received the life-shattering news that a loved one has been killed or harmed.

“Our government stands against misogyny and gender-based violence and remains committed to addressing it in British Columbia. That is why we are working to make our province safer for everyone, especially those who are marginalized and disproportionately impacted by violence.

“We are building hundreds of homes where women and children escaping violence have a safe place to recover and rebuild their lives. Our government has also dedicated funding for sexual assault services to ensure that survivors have the supports they need when they feel comfortable coming forward. We are making these services British Columbians depend on more inclusive and anti-racist.

“We are also committed to building an affordable, high-quality child care system that will create more opportunities for women’s economic independence, which is essential for those in violent situations.

“And yet there is still much more to do to ensure that everyone in our province can feel safe and build a good life with an equal opportunity to thrive.

“For this reason, we are committed to developing an action plan to help end gender-based violence in B.C. and we need support from all British Columbians as we continue this work.

“We must continue to support and look out for people experiencing gender-based violence. Please watch out for each other, speak up and be there when those around us need assistance.”

Pierre Poilievre
Photo: Twitter

PIERRE Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, said:

“Few events that have wounded us as deeply as the 1989 Massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal. This vile act of hatred and misogyny stole the lives of fourteen bright young women, leaving a deep scar on our nation.

“We are reminded of the sickening hatred and pure evil that motivated the killer, and together we mourn the destruction of life that can never be brought back.

“Conservatives will always work for a Canada where all women can live in peace and security. We will oppose measures that lower penalties for abusers and violent criminals, especially those who target women. We will fight the scourge of human trafficking and stand up for the thousands of women who have suffered from sexual assault.

“Renewing our efforts to end violence against women in all its forms here in Canada, we commit to working with our allies to bring freedom to women around the world, and permanently end the brutal and violent oppression that keeps them down.

“In honour of the victims of the Polytechnique Massacre, today all Canadians stand together for a future where women across our country can live free from violence.”

Jagmeet Singh
Official photo


FEDERAL NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said:

“Thirty three years ago, the country was shaken by the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre—an act of femicide that will never be forgotten.

“Today, we pay tribute to the women who were murdered on December 6, 1989:  Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne‑Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne‑Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St‑Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

“They were killed because they were women.

“Gun violence and all forms of misogyny have no place in our society. We all have a role to play in calling out harmful attitudes and actions whenever we encounter them.

“Unfortunately, in Canada, women still disproportionately experience violence.  Four in ten women have lived through some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. It shouldn’t be this way. Women and girls deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities.

“The problem is even more dire for Indigenous women and girls who are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other women in Canada. We bear witness to an ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in this country. Urgent action is needed. We must do everything in our power to end gender-based violence in Canada.

“There is much more that the federal government could be doing to address these systemic issues and help keep women safe. Starting with real, meaningful action to address gun violence, stable, predictable funding for shelters and organizations who help women fleeing violence and the Liberal Government must act with the urgency necessary to stop the genocide against Indigenous women and girls now.

“In the cherished memory of those who were taken from their loved ones, New Democrats renew our efforts to end gender-based violence once and for all.”