Montrealers remember Ecole Polytechnique shooting
Published Sunday, December 6, 2009 5:21PM EST
A remembrance ceremony was held at Notre Dame Basilica Sunday afternoon to mark the 20th anniversary of Canada's worst mass shooting.
On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lepine went on a shooting rampage at the Universite de Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique and killed 14 women.
Lepine also injured 13 other people before turning the gun on himself.
The victims' families, people injured during the event, and Polytechnique graduates, professors, staff, students and retirees were invited to participate in Sunday's commemorative ceremony.
The school said the ceremony was meant to "highlight certain personal achievements" and to provide a "message of hope and faith in the future."
Over the course of the weekend, members of the general public visited a commemorative plaque located at the main building of the Ecole Polytechnique.
The plaque, which bears the names of the 14 victims, was adorned with flowers for the occasion.
Feminists still fighting
Alexa Conradi, president of the Quebec Women's Federation, said the 20th anniversary of the Polytechnique shooting is a reminder that feminists are still struggling for equality, and are continuing to fight to end violence against women.
"We have to remember the 14 women, but we also have to look to the future. One of the reasons why they were killed was because they had decided to move into a non-traditional workplace, and they were killed because Marc Lepine hated women for their advancement in society, and because of feminists. So here we are today - feminists -- to say that violence against women is unacceptable and we're still in the search for equality."
Calls for tougher gun control
What became known as the "Montreal massacre" prompted a toughening of Canada's gun control laws.
But last month, Conservatives MPs, along with a handful of Liberals and New Democrats, voted in principle to kill the long-gun registry.
The move sparked an emotional response in Quebec as Montreal's police chief, survivors of the massacre and a gun victim's mother urged politicians to support the registry.
Harper urges Canadians to remember tragedy
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement Sunday it is important for Canadians to remain committed to eliminating violence against women.
"On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 bright, talented, young women were murdered at l'Ecole polytechnique de Montreal in one of the most tragic acts of violence against women in our country's history," Harper said.
"Their deaths galvanized the need to end violence against women in the hearts and minds of Canadians.
"Today, on Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, we should all take time to remember and reaffirm our commitment to continue working to protect the lives, dignity and equality of all women."
With files from The Canadian Press