Statement by Paul Dewar on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women
December 6th, 2011Today we remember the Montreal Massacre at the École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. Fourteen women were shot and killed on that day because they were women. We join together in mourning the loss of Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
As we remember the countless women who face gender-based violence, we must reaffirm our commitment to act against this terrible violation of human rights.
Women in Canada and around the world face physical and sexual violence on a daily basis - often at the hands of partners and relatives. The staggering rates of violence are aggravated against women from marginalized communities. Poverty and discrimination have increased the rates of violence against Aboriginal women. Rape is frequently used as a weapon of war in many conflicts around the world, most disastrously in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to destroy communities and access the rich minerals in the region.
We can change this. We can fight for full gender equality and uproot the terrible injustice of violence against women. As individuals, every one of us has the power to act, speak up against sexism and prevent violence.
As a society and as a government, we have the responsibility to implement a national action plan against gender-based violence. We must ensure access to supportive housing and other critical services to the survivors of violence against women. We must increase public awareness, and invest in gender equality and women's empowerment. Internationally, Canada must be a voice for women's equality, end the culture of impunity, support development that empowers women and end the trade of conflict minerals.
Today we mourn the tragic events of the Montreal Massacre, but we also renew our resolve to uproot gender-based violence in all its forms.