“On this day in 1989, families were having breakfast like on any other day. Parents greeted their daughters, and friends greeted each other as they walked into Polytechnique Montréal – never once doubting that this would be the last time they would see each other.
On this day, 32 years ago, a gunman walked into a classroom at Polytechnique Montréal, separated the women from the men and opened fire on the women. Fourteen women died that day, and 13 more were wounded.
The reason, they were women.
This hateful act shocked people in Montréal and across Canada. In the following years, it brought Canadians together as they sought solutions and charted a path forward. As part of this journey, Parliament declared December 6 a day to remember the loss of these young women and to recognize the ongoing tragic impacts of gender-based violence.
Today, we honour their memory and remember their names: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz. We mourn these women along with the many others we have lost over the years.
As we reflect on this tragedy, we must not overlook the fact that gender-based violence, misogyny, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and hate remain a reality for far too many in our society.
Gender-based violence can be prevented if we all step up and make a difference by speaking out and taking action against harmful stereotypes and myths. We must also continue honouring the memory of every life that was taken far too soon because of a cruel and senseless act of gender-based violence.