Former student Richard Gregoire places fourteen roses at the school’s memorial to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique attack where a lone gunman killed 14 female students Friday, December 6, 2019 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Vows to end violence against women combined with solemn reflection as ceremonies were held Friday to honour the 14 victims of the Dec. 6, 1989 anti-feminist attack at Montreal’s Ecole polytechnique.

On the 30th anniversary of Canada’s worst mass shooting, the House of Commons fell silent as members of Parliament remembered the victims who were targeted for death because they were women.

Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu fought back tears as she listed the names of the 14 murdered women. Gladu said that as the first female engineer elected to the House of Commons, she feels a special bond to the victims.

“These women were my sisters,” she said. “I name them now to respect them for the strong women they are and they were.”

In Montreal, several dozen people gathered outside the school under a light morning snowfall as dignitaries and students lay bouquets of white roses in front of a commemorative plaque bearing the victims’ names: Genevieve Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michele Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte.

Members of the public also paid their respects in front of the campus, and among the first on hand Friday morning was Jean-Pierre Bernard.

Bernard, went to high school in the Gaspe region with one of the victims, Sonia Pelletier. “I came for the 25th anniversary, and every year I wear my (memorial) pin. It’s very important for me.”

Later, families of the victims and survivors gathered inside for the launch of a book written by Montreal journalist Josee Boileau.

The book, “Ce jour-la — Parce qu’elles etaient des femmes” (“That Day — Because They Were Women”) is to be translated into English next year. It takes a broader look at the advancement of women in Quebec society.

In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said gender-based violence remains a threat.

“Each December, as we honour the memories of those 14 women, the survivors and the families, we promise to do better,” Trudeau said. “But the reality is that in 30 years, things haven’t changed enough.”

Trudeau highlighted the Liberal campaign pledge to ban semi-automatic assault rifles, including the weapon used in the Polytechnique killings, as evidence of his government’s commitment to action.

Later Friday, the public will gather on Mount Royal at 5:10 p.m. — the time the 1989 attack began— and 14 beams of light will shine over the Montreal skyline as the names of the 14 women are read aloud.

READ MORE: Shooting survivor quits panel over ‘timid’ Liberal record on assault-style guns

ALSO READ: New Zealand PM vows to deny notoriety to Christchurch mosque gunman

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland’s April 1 snow measurements above normal

Measurements taken at Summerland Reservoir and Isintok Lake

Okanagan Skaha School Board does not anticipate closures

School district budget tight as a result of declining enrolment

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

YMCA Okanagan opens child care service to essential workers

Priority given to guardians in top three tiers of essential services as identified by the province

South Okanagan piper to perform for livestreamed memorials

Penticton funeral home to show performances every Friday at 4:30 p.m.

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

French language supports added online for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

Okanagan College student designs map tracking spread of COVID-19 in B.C.

Sean Heddle says fighting complacency and misinformation is important

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix had sharp words for those arriving from overseas abiding by federal law

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in West Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

COLUMN: Responding with the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy

Support available for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

EDITORIAL: Are you a virus jerk? Take our short quiz to find out

Are you a virus jerk? Take this short quiz to learn the… Continue reading

Demand doubles at Revelstoke food bank

Community Connections concerned whether they can meet increasing need

Most Read