Statement from Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine, Minister Responsible for Gender Equity, on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 6, 2023
Today we recognize National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which honours the lives of 14 young women who were murdered in an act of gender-based violence at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal 34 years ago.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle and hunting knife walked into a mechanical engineering classroom and instructed the male students to leave. He then methodically shot nine women in the room. He proceeded into the hallways and another classroom where he continued to target women. When he was done, he killed 14 women and injured 14 other individuals.
The shooter stated he was fighting feminism. However, society at the time struggled to accept this was a clear act of misogyny. Unfortunately, acts of misogyny continue today. Earlier this year, a man entered a gender studies class at the University of Waterloo and stabbed two students and a female instructor. Just last month, a man in Ontario received a life sentence for the incel-inspired murder of 24-year-old Ashley Arzaga in 2020, which was also ruled an act of terrorism.
There is a clear link between misogyny and white supremacy, racism, anti-2SLGBTQIA+ rhetoric, online hate and other forms of gender-based violence.
I encourage all Manitobans to continue to honour the victims of the Montreal massacre, the Manitoban women we’ve lost this year to violence and actively call out and resist all forms of misogyny.
A memorial ceremony is being held today at 5:30 p.m. at Red River College Polytechnic’s Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building, 319 Elgin Ave. Doors open at 5 p.m. The event will also be streamed live at https://news.gov.mb.ca and http://youtube.com/ManitobaGovernment.
Flags on all provincial buildings are being flown at half-mast today to honour the memory of the victims. The Manitoba Legislative Building will be lit with a purple ribbon for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
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