Thursday, December 3, 2020
This coming Sunday is December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. For members who do not know, this national day of remembrance was established after the 1989 shooting of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montréal, also known as the Montreal Massacre.
On that day, a man walked into a mechanical engineering class, ordered the men and women to opposite sides of the room and allowed the men to leave before opening fire on the nine women in the classroom, killing six. He then moved through the school targeting women in other classrooms, hallways, and the cafeteria. During the shooting, he stated he was “fighting feminism”.
While some people and organisations may try to disconnect the actions of this man from the sexism and misogyny pervasive in the culture at the time, the reality is these women were killed because they were women; they were killed because a misogynist wanted to punish them for stepping outside of the limited confines of their traditional gender roles.
Below are the names of the victims of the 1989 massacre.
- Geneviève Bergeron, 21
- Hélène Colgan, 23
- Nathalie Croteau, 23
- Barbara Daigneault, 22
- Anne-Marie Edward, 21
- Maud Haviernick, 29
- Barbara Klucznik, 31
- Maryse Laganière, 25
- Maryse Leclair, 23
- Anne-Marie Lemay, 22
- Sonia Pelletier, 23
- Michèle Richard, 21
- Anne St-Arneault, 23
- Annie Turcotte, 21
As we are unable to gather this year, please take a moment to read their names aloud and have a moment of silence for their loss.
Even though the forms sexism and misogyny take have shifted and changed along with our culture, we still have a long way to go before we eradicate the type of ideas that killed 14 women at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. As we strengthen our commitment to fight gender-based violence, we must also strengthen our commitment to the inclusion of trans, non-binary, and queer members of our community in our struggle towards equality.
If you would like to attend a virtual memorial, here is a list of events being held in the Prairies.
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies