Marc Lepine walked into the engineering school on December 6th, 1989, armed with a gun and a vicious hatred for women. In the shooting rampage that followed, he killed 14 women before turning the gun on himself.
It’s believed Lepine hated the women’s movement and affirmative action, which he felt cost him a place at the engineering school. But the slayings actually galvanized the women’s movement and prompted a call for action against violence against women. In 1991, the government designated December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
But a spokesperson for the Quebec Women’s Federation feels the Conservative government is failing women with its recent actions. Nancy Burrows says the gun registry, which the party is opposed to, has helped reduce the number of violent acts against women involving firearms.
She pointed to September’s violent shooting at Montreal’s Dawson College, where student Anastasia De Sousa was fatally shot by gunman Kimveer Gill, as another example of violence involving women.
Survivors of the Dawson rampage spoke out at a memorial service honouring the 14 victims of the 1989 massacre Wednesday.
“We absolutely need to ban semi-automatic assault rifles. Their only use is to destroy and kill whatever is being shot,” Dawson victim Hayder Kadhim said.
Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove also criticized the government for its stance on programs promoting equality for women.
He contends the party has cut funding to organizations lobbying for women, and even closed 12 of 16 Status of Women Canada offices.
National women’s groups plan to hold a rally on Parliament Hill Sunday.
Names of the Ecole polytechnique victims:
Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967) mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student