Today is December 6th. It is Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is the 22nd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. I have lit candles, laid roses, cried and also hoped that as a society we would learn from this tragedy and that my daughter would grow up in a country that was more respecting of her than the one I grew up in. In some ways this has come to pass. Yet, in other, perhaps more significant ways it has not. All too frequently women are still murdered simply because they are women. Violence is not in decline and husbands, lovers and strangers continue to believe it is open season on women. This is immoral and it is wrong. I want it to stop.
So this year I will wear my button and talk about the fact that it has been 23 years since those young women died, how we have not come nearly far enough and I will for the first time send my MP an e-mail asking him what he and his party are doing to stop violence against women. I will ask him three questions and I expect that as my representative in government he will answer them. I believe it is only through dialogue and action that we will create a society where violence against women becomes unacceptable by all.
They are not difficult questions. They are straightforward and I believe them to be reasonable. I am encouraging everyone I know both women and men to ask their MPs the same questions or at least similar ones. Below you will find my letter. Please feel free to copy, paste, or borrow any or all parts of it. You will also find the link to a website that will help you locate your MP’s e-mail address using only your postal code.
To locate your Member of Parliament and their e-mail addresses:
Dear Peter Braid,
As one of your constituents I am writing to you today because I would like to know what you, my Member of Parliament and the political party you are part of are doing to reduce violence against women in Canada.
Today is December 6th, 2012. It is now 23 years since Marc Lepine opened fire murdering 14 young women because they were women. It would be wonderful to say that we as a society have since learned from this tragedy and put into place policies and programs to ensure violence and the murder of women is no longer an issue. Sadly, this is not the case.
So today I ask you three simple questions and I do hope you will reply:
1. What policies are you and your party working on to uphold the belief that it is unacceptable to harm women?
2. What programs do you have in place to educate Canadians that violence against women, especially their murder, is not acceptable? If the answer is none yet, but we are working on it, then please tell me about these programs and when you intend to see them launched and implemented. Also if your government is financially supporting particular programs I would to know about this too.
3. Twenty-three years is a long time. It is a generation. What will you personally do to ensure that another twenty-three do NOT go by without any real and significant change?
I look forward to your reply.
Thank you for your time,
Today I remember:
• Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
• Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
• Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
• Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
• Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
• Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
• Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
• Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
• Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
• Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
• Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
• Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
• Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
• Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student
I hope to remember Marc Lepine as long as it takes
note: This post was written for December 6th, but posted December 5th, because like so many other women my age, I will driving an hour and a half to Toronto to take my elderly father to his doctor’s appointment.