Friday, December 04, 2009
Unanimous Consent Statement
The Honourable Laurel Broten
Minister Responsible for Women Issues
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 3, 2009
Mr. Speaker, twenty years ago this Sunday marks a dark day in Canadian history. On December 6, 1989, a gunman walked into l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal and killed 14 female engineering students.
It was a day I remember clearly. I was an undergraduate science student in a predominantly male graduating class, a political activist, a feminist.
I remember my shock, my confusion and my growing sense of vulnerability.
And over the next few days, my friends and I saw clearly December 6 for what it was: a heinous act of misogyny.
This act of hatred was not an attack against students or engineers. It was an attack against women. And it became a defining moment for Canadian women.
These students were not just victims of an indiscriminate criminal act. They were women who were - friends, daughters and sisters whose families were shattered by the bullets that struck them.
They were daughters of parents who encouraged them to take the road less traveled – a career in engineering.
Mr. Speaker, today, as I stand in acknowledgement of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6, I ask that my colleagues in this House join me in remembering, not only the 14 women who were killed that day, but all women who have died as a result of gender-based violence.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to acknowledge the internationally-sanctioned 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, November 25 to December 10. It reminds us that violence against women is an unacceptable violation of human rights and a principle barrier to gender equality.
As a lawyer, an advocate, a friend, in my previous role as Parliamentary Assistant to Premier McGuinty and now, as Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, I have met women who have suffered abuse. I am moved by their determination to change their lives and to keep their children safe and free of violence.
The tragedy of December 6 reminds us that we must not let our vigilance wane. We must continue to educate girls and boys, men and women that we all have a responsibility to end violence against women.
Today, I invite all members to wear a Rose Button to remember the women who died and recommit to taking action on violence against women and girls, and to also wear a White Ribbon to signify men’s opposition to violence against women.
I ask that all members to stand and bow their heads for one minute of silence for the 14 engineering students who were killed December 6, 1989 and for all women who have died through violence.
Geneviève Bergeron, 21
Hélène Colgan, 23
Nathalie Croteau, 23
Barbara Daigneault, 22
Anne-Marie Edward, 21
Maud Haviernick, 29
Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31
Maryse Laganière, 25
Maryse Leclair, 23
Anne-Marie Lemay, 27
Sonia Pelletier, 23
Michèle Richard, 21
Annie St-Arneault, 23
Annie Turcotte, 21
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I call upon all Ontarians to work together to end violence against women.
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