National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

I couldn't rightfully call myself a feminist if I didn't devote a post to the 20th anniversary of the Montreal massacre. As you may recall 25-year-old Marc Lépine walked into the École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989, and shot 28 women, killing 14 for the simple reason that they were women. I can recall this incident very clearly. I was living in a Canadian university residence in Paris with many students from Montreal. Word traveled quickly through the lounges, kitchens and lobby, but it took a few days to get all the details. I will never forget the horror of learning that Lépine had gone into a classroom and actually asked the male portion of the class to leave. In his suicide note, he blamed feminists for his failures in life.

As a result of this tragic event, the federal government made December 6 the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It also implemented a gun registry, which according to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has reduced spousal homicide by 50%. As you may also be aware, our Conservative government is currently trying to abolish the gun registry in the form of Bill C-391.

The CLC has spearheaded a campaign entitled 20 Days and 20 Ways to End Violence Against Women. It is asking people to send the Prime Minister a postcard a day for 20 days asking him to keep the gun registry. The CLC has created a user-friendly electronic postcard that you can send directly to the PM (Click here your for postcard.). Now unfortunately, I am behind in my postcards, so I will be sending 10 today and 10 tomorrow, and I invite you to do the same.

The Canadian Labour Congress believes that ending violence against women cannot be done through a law and order agenda and instead advocates comprehensive social and economic policies, which include:
  • maintaining the long gun registry
  • access to affordable, safe housing
  • a living minimum wage
  • effective pay equity laws
  • a national publicly-funded child care program
  • equal access to Employment Insurance
  • access to justice, including the resources to challenge discriminatory government action and legal aid
  • increased governmental support for women’s centres, rape crisis centres and women’s shelters
  • legal protection and support for women who report sexual assault
The Canadian Labour Congress accuses the current government of "severely limiting women’s capacity to organize, advocate and lobby," and is calling for "the government to drop its law and order agenda and instead, develop an effective women’s equality agenda."

Tomorrow, candlelight vigils will be held across Canada to remember these 14 women and all of the other women who have been the victims of violence. If you can't attend a vigil, then just fire off a postcard or two and help stop Bill C-391. I'm already on postcard number 5.

Canadian Labour Congress


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