Anniversary of massacre at Ecole polytechnique marked
Nineteen years to the day Marc Lepine gunned down 14 women in a shocking act of violence at Montreal's Ecole polytechnique, people gathered for a memorial service to remember the victims in Montreal on Saturday.
Before noon, dozens attended a ceremony at Montreal's Place du 6 Decembre -- the site where the names of Lepine's victims are read aloud each year on the anniversary date of the shootings, and roses are placed on 14 sculptures that have been engraved with their names.
Quebec Federation of Women president Michele Asselin called on those in attendance to pledge solidarity with women who have been hurt by violence around the world.
"Let's break the wall of silence," she said Saturday. "Today, we're wearing the white ribbon in solidarity but every day we can act."
Louise Riendeau, a spokesperson for a Quebec women's shelter association, said conditions for Canadian women had improved much since Dec. 6, 1989, but there are still many changes that need to happen to improve the lives of women.
"There's more help in shelters, some laws have been changed but we still have work to do," she said.
"We need to give more help to native women, disabled women, women who have been raped. And we need to continue to raise awareness."
Ellen Gabriel, president of Quebec Native Women Inc., called on politicians to give greater consideration to aboriginal women who are vulnerable to violence.
"Canada and the U.S. have the right to protect all people equally under the law. Canada has failed miserably," she said.
All three women called on their provincial and federal governments to continue to toughen firearm legislation.
It was Dec. 6, 1989, when the 25-year-old Lepine entered the University of Montreal's engineering school, and went on his shooting rampage.
He wounded many others before killing himself.
In a suicide note, the young gunman and mass-murderer blamed his problems on women.
His mother, Monique Lepine, wrote a book about her life that was released earlier this fall.
In "Aftermath," Lepine described the guilt she felt in the years that followed her son's rampage at the engineering school.
She also wrote about how each year she crosses Dec. 6 off her calendar, like it doesn't exist.
But she admits she has never been able to forget a single detail of that day.
Since 1991, each Dec. 6 has been known as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
With files from The Canadian Press