And yet here we are today with the gun registry, created in part in honour of these women, on the brink of losing it altogether.
On this night 20 years ago, a small group of heartsick Toronto women gathered at city hall to hold the first vigil for the 14 young women slaughtered that day at 'École Polytechnique in Montreal by a gunman screaming about "feminists." Every year since, women have marked Dec. 6 with memorials, vigils, reflections and vows never to let it happen again.
On the second anniversary, a vanguard of prominent men stood in solidarity with them, wearing white ribbons to show their determination to end violence against women. The chief organizer was Jack Layton, then a Toronto mayoral candidate.
One of the survivors, Heidi Rathjen, is hoping that the handful of Liberal and NDP MPs who supported the private member's bill, will change their minds.
This is not who we are as Canadians. We don't do guns and super prisons. We're a peaceful country. Or at least we were.
MONTREAL–Gun-control advocates pleaded with opposition parties to stand against a move to shelve the long-gun registry when Parliament reconvenes. The
call came Friday from a coalition of police, politicians, women's groups and Heidi Rathjen, a survivor of Montreal's Polytechnique massacre. They said they hold no hope of persuading the governing Conservatives to back away from one of their MPs' private bill to end the registry, which was established as a result of the 1989 massacre ....
But then with columnists like Margaret Wente, you just wonder if maybe we held this country up to too high a standard. Maybe we're the worst of what America has to offer after all.
For two decades, Dec. 6 has been an annual excuse for fevered breast-beating over the moral failings of society and the persistent inequality of women – as if the glass ceiling or the lack of universal daycare existed on the same moral continuum as homicidal misogyny. “I'm not very optimistic,” warned Nayyar Javed, who spoke at a vigil in Saskatchewan. “Women in Canada in all sectors are not equal to men.” Monique Frize, an engineer at Carleton University, allowed that there's been progress and regress” in women's rights, and suggested that young women are reluctant to call themselves feminists because they're being “gagged.” ... How much sophistry can you stuff in one small space? The truth is that women in Canada have never been safer than they are today ...
This is the party of Helena Guergis, the Minister in charge of the Status of Women, stated that date rape was the result of the hyper sexuality of young girls.
This is the party of David Sweet, founder of the Promise Keepers.
We are going backward instead of forward, and this gun registry is as much symbolic as it is a necessary tool to protect, not only women, but all Canadians; even if it's just from ourselves. So come on Mr. Layton. You were there 20 years ago, you need to be there now.
This issue is very personal to me because my aunt was killed by her husband, using a long gun. I need to keep fighting this for her.
Personally, I don't think the Conservatives should even have a vote, especially the women, because they do not reflect the spirit of women in Canada.
IS THIS REALLY YOUR CANADA?
On Wednesday, at a Parliament Hill ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Dec. 6 massacre at Montreal's L'École Polytechnique, Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner co-starred in Status of Women minister Helena Guergis's show of sympathy. Bad enough that, last month, Guergis voted for Bill C-391, the legislation that aims to kill the long-gun registry and Hoeppner was the one to introduce it in the House. No wonder that Status of Women committee members Anita Neville (L-Winnipeg South Centre), Irene Mathyssen (NDP-London- Fanshawe) and the Bloc's warrior queen of women's rights, Nicole Demers (Laval), boycotted the ceremony. As Neville told me Wednesday, "The Conservatives' record on women has just been abominable.'' ...