A Statement by the Minister of State (Status of Women)

OTTAWA, Dec. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is the text of a statement made in the House of Commons on December 3, 2009 by the Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), on the occasion of Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women 2009, marking the 20th anniversary of the murder of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal.

    
    Mr. Speaker, I rise now to share in the sadness of all Canadians who will
    pause today to recall one of the darkest moments in our nation's history.

    On December 6, 1989, a gunman entered a classroom in Montreal's l'Ecole
    Polytechnique. He separated the men from the women, then shot the women.
    Fourteen young women died. Ten more were injured. Four men were also
    shot. Every Canadian who was alive at the time has a different
    recollection of the events of that terrible day; however, we were all
    united in our horror and our grief, and our unlimited sympathy for the
    families of the women slain.

    As a young Canadian woman, I felt shocked at first, and then numb, and
    then angry - a feeling that left me determined to help ensure this would
    never happen again.

    These families lost the best and brightest - their beloved daughters,
    sisters, nieces and cousins. Young women just setting out at the start of
    their adult lives, full of life and love, energy and enthusiasm: gone,
    forever, in a few moments of violence.

    While Canada, thankfully, has not experienced an incident of the
    magnitude of the Montreal Massacre since 1989, we are very aware of the
    fact that to end violence against women, much work remains to be done. As
    Minister of State for the Status of Women, I am proud of the steps our
    Government has taken to address these challenges, including delivering
    the Tackling Violent Crime Act, working to prevent serious criminals from
    serving their sentences at home, increasing funding to grassroots women's
    support groups and supporting legislation to increase penalties for human
    trafficking. Progress has been made, but more work remains to be done.

    Ending violence against women is not something government can do on its
    own. Every Canadian has a role to play - whether by offering support to a
    woman caught in an abusive situation, or teaching young children that all
    forms of violence and abuse are wrong.

    Our Government is united in its sorrow for women who are victims of
    violence, and united in its resolve to end violence against women. It is
    time for us to face it; name it; and end it.

    On December 6, Canadians will pause to remember and grieve for the women
    who died in the Montreal Massacre. I believe we serve their memory best
    by committing to face, and end, violence against the women and girls who
    are with us today.
    

SOURCE Status of Women Canada

For further information: For further information: Emily Goucher, Senior Special Assistant, Communications, Office of the Minister of State (Status of Women), (819) 956-4000


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