Former student Richard Gregoire places fourteen roses at the school’s memorial to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique attack where a lone gunman killed 14 female students Friday, December 6, 2019 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Former student Richard Gregoire places fourteen roses at the school’s memorial to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique attack where a lone gunman killed 14 female students Friday, December 6, 2019 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Vows to end violence against women combined with solemn reflection as ceremonies were held Friday to honour the 14 victims of the Dec. 6, 1989 anti-feminist attack at Montreal’s Ecole polytechnique.

On the 30th anniversary of Canada’s worst mass shooting, the House of Commons fell silent as members of Parliament remembered the victims who were targeted for death because they were women.

Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu fought back tears as she listed the names of the 14 murdered women. Gladu said that as the first female engineer elected to the House of Commons, she feels a special bond to the victims.

“These women were my sisters,” she said. “I name them now to respect them for the strong women they are and they were.”

In Montreal, several dozen people gathered outside the school under a light morning snowfall as dignitaries and students lay bouquets of white roses in front of a commemorative plaque bearing the victims’ names: Genevieve Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michele Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte.

Members of the public also paid their respects in front of the campus, and among the first on hand Friday morning was Jean-Pierre Bernard.

Bernard, went to high school in the Gaspe region with one of the victims, Sonia Pelletier. “I came for the 25th anniversary, and every year I wear my (memorial) pin. It’s very important for me.”

Later, families of the victims and survivors gathered inside for the launch of a book written by Montreal journalist Josee Boileau.

The book, “Ce jour-la — Parce qu’elles etaient des femmes” (“That Day — Because They Were Women”) is to be translated into English next year. It takes a broader look at the advancement of women in Quebec society.

In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said gender-based violence remains a threat.

“Each December, as we honour the memories of those 14 women, the survivors and the families, we promise to do better,” Trudeau said. “But the reality is that in 30 years, things haven’t changed enough.”

Trudeau highlighted the Liberal campaign pledge to ban semi-automatic assault rifles, including the weapon used in the Polytechnique killings, as evidence of his government’s commitment to action.

Later Friday, the public will gather on Mount Royal at 5:10 p.m. — the time the 1989 attack began— and 14 beams of light will shine over the Montreal skyline as the names of the 14 women are read aloud.

READ MORE: Shooting survivor quits panel over ‘timid’ Liberal record on assault-style guns

ALSO READ: New Zealand PM vows to deny notoriety to Christchurch mosque gunman

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley RCMP on scene at what appeared to be a fatal bike accident. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Cyclist dies suddenly while riding in Langley

Police were on scene of the fatal incident

Kim Snow was chosen as the H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year winner by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. (Langley Advance Times file)
Local angel chosen for top Langley Chamber of Commerce community award

The H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year Award was presented this week

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

The family owned and operated Twilight Drive-In, located in Aldergrove, has been in operation since 2005. (Aldergrove Star files)
COVID restrictions curtain Twilight Drive-In for two weeks

Owner Jay Daulat is hopeful the Aldergrove business can re-open after Dec. 7

What COVID-19 looks like under the microscope. (CDC)
LETTER: Langley senior pens poem of encouragement during dark times

Less than a year ago, few had ever heard of the coronavirus. Now it dominates our lives

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read