It was a cold early December night. The memories, all these years later, remain as sickening as ever. It's not something you can forget, nor should you.

Their only crime was that they were bright young women with futures so promising.

They were our daughters, our sisters, our friends.

They will never grow old, have families, become engineers. December 6, 1989 changed all that.

20 years later we have come far.

The legacy of the murders of 14 young women has been tougher gun laws in Canada, and it has focused our attention on all violence against women. We are not the same as were. Much has changed. More needs to be done.

But we are about to take a huge step backward.

Our government is about to dismantle the long gun registry -- a registry that includes the Ruger Mini 14, the gun used by Marc Lepine

Why are the Tories and a smattering of other MPs doing this?

It's simply to appease their rural constituency. That's where they get their most of their votes.

The Tories are pandering.

There is no good reason to destroy 8 million records for political reasons. There is still time to stop it.

Since the registry, long gun crime has decreased dramatically in Canada.

Murders with long guns : 107 in 1991, 32 in 2008.

Nor does the argument hold up that rural Canada is immune from gun violence

In fact studies find that rates of domestic violence are comparable in urban and rural settings.

Police chiefs tell us we should keep it, and we should because it makes Canada a safer place. Police need to know if there is a gun in a house when they are answering a call.

You need a license for your car, your pickup truck and your dog. Why on earth should you not need one to own a rifle?

It's a small price to pay. Most Canadians want tougher gun laws. The registry might not be perfect, but it can be improved.

We remember what happened on that terrible night.

Destroying the registry dishonours the 14 women, and that should never be allowed to happen.

In a city where guns have killed at the Ecole Polytechnique, at Concordia and at Dawson, this is no way to mark the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in Canadian history.

We can do better. Because what happened that December night so long ago still chills us to the bone.