Thursday, 3 December 2015

Proud to Be a Quebecer Today - New Gun Registry Promised

26 years ago late on the snowy-rainy dark afternoon of December 6, 1989 a gunman walked into the Ecole Polytechnique  at Université de Montréal and massacred 14 young women because they were women. Strong, bright, intelligent women - twelve of the fourteen studying engineering. 

Montreal lost any innocence it had that night. I was working on a master's in Etudes pastorales (pastoral studies) at the UdeM. When I got home from classes I found a frantic phone message from Jim, my brother, wondering where I was and if I was alright. I still hadn't heard of the tragedy ... but turning on the TV - there it was - chaos and the unspeakable... and I wish I could say unbelievable. The violence was, and is, only too real.

Part of the suicide note of the killer (I will not name him): 
"Would you note that if I commit suicide today it is not for economic reasons … but for political reasons," it read. "Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker … I have decided to put an end to those viragos."

Image from Ms blog

from Google images

Remember the women. Say their names. 

  • Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department
  • Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

For years, Heidi Rathjen,  Suzanne Laplante-Edward (mother of one of the 14, Anne-Marie Edward), other survivors and family members of the victims fought for a national gun registry in Canada. All police forces supported it. We got it. Celebration short-lived.

from Wikipedia:
"In 1995, the Criminal Code was amended to include Bill C-68, the Firearms Act. It implemented a new central licensing system to replace the FAC system. It also required registration of all firearms and firearm licence holders; banned short-barreled and small calibre handguns ("grandfathering" in previous owners); and required a licence to buy ammunition. Most of the bills provisions came into force in 1998, and the registration of long guns became mandatory in 2003.[10]"

Along came a majority Conservative government in 2008, and Stephen Harper destroyed the registry. Stephen Harper is no longer our Prime Minister. Am I happy?  YES!

Quebec fought in the courts to have the Quebec data saved. Some of it may have survived. Today, our Quebec government announced it plans to pass a law requiring the registration of all non-restricted firearms. present in the gallery at the National Assembly in Quebec City: Heidi Rathjen, Nathalie Provost... and others.

Rejoice today - in deep sadness but with satisfaction that sometimes our governments know what is important and act on it. 

Our Quebec flag - from Google images
Thank you, Quebec

Thank you Mr Couillard (our Quebec premier in case you're from away) and the Liberals of Quebec - and all of you in Quebec City today who support this move. It is reported that all three parties stand with us on the gun registry initiative. Yes!!

Our Canadian parliament, as a result of the massacre, declared December 6th to be the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. 

from Google images

We remember and ...

Onwards, Canada - next we want the inquiry into the 1200+ missing and murdered Aboriginal women... 

Some links to powerful stories about December 6, 1989 and the ensuing years. Stories of courage and determination and the fight for equality and justice.

1 comment:

  1. A powerful remembrance of that sad day. Congratulations to the Quebec Government for such positive legislation. I am proud of Quebec today, too!
    Christine Norris