Vigils recall victims of Montreal
By: Lindsay Kines, The Vancouver Sun and Canadian Press,
Tuesday, December 7, 1999
A speaker in Vancouver notes that 10 years
after the 14 died, women are still afraid to walk or wait at bus stops alone at
Thousands of people
across Canada paused on the 10th anniversary of the Montreal massacre
on Monday to remember, those killed and injured by violence against women.
In Montreal, schools closed
for the day, thousands of teachers attended a conference on violence and several
hundred people attended a memorial service at L’Ecole Polytechnique, where 14
women were murdered on Dec. 6, 1989.
In Ottawa, Status of Women
Minister Hedy Fry (Liberal-Vancouver Centre) hosted a ceremony, and Prime
Minister Jean Chretien addressed the House of Commons.
In Vancouver, hundreds of
women and men attended candlelight vigils throughout the day—at the Women’s
Memorial in Thornton Park, at Pigeon and Oppenheimer parks in the Downtown
Eastside, and at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
None of the speakers
mentioned the name of gunman Marc Lepine, who shot and killed 14 women because,
he said, they were a bunch of feminists and he hated feminists. It was the worst
mass shooting in Canadian history.
“Time stood still in
Canada on that day and for the families and friends of the 14 victims who were
taken by this act of insane rage, it has never fully started again,” Chretien
told the House of Commons. Even though Canada now has one of the toughest gun
control laws in the world, it won’t change what happened, Chretien said.
“The cold fact is that nothing we have done or will do can ever bring back
these young lives.”
Fry called upon everyone to
join in ending violence so women can feel safe in their homes, in workplaces, in
schools and on the streets.
About 50 women marched along
East Hastings from Pigeon Park to Oppenheimer Park—many of them carrying
pictures of the 29 women who have vanished from the Downtown Eastside since
1978. The marchers included federal MP Libby Davies (NDP-Vancouver East).
“These are women who have
died because of violence,” Davies said. “But there are women who are living
every day with it—on the street—because they’re homeless, because
they’re poor, because they’re aboriginal, because they don’t have access
“I think December the 6th
is a really important day for everyone to come together and remember the women
who have already died from violence, but to look at what we can be doing now to
prevent more women from becoming the victims of a very violent system and a very
At the Women’s Memorial in
Vancouver, Angela Schira, secretary treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labour
reminded people that 10 years after the killings, women are still afraid to walk
alone at night, still afraid to wait alone at bus stops, still afraid to walk
into parking garages alone.