Niki Ashton`s statement on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

It is with deep sorrow that we mark the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre at the École polytechnique.  On December 6, 1989, one man killed 14 women simply because of their gender – Annie St-Arneault, 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 Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

Tragically, in 2012 violence against women in Canada is still a serious issue. It is a national disgrace that half of all women in this country continue to be victims of physical and sexual violence. On any given day there are more than 3,000 Canadian women living in shelters to escape domestic violence. Aboriginal women in Canada face staggering rates of violence and their predicament is aggravated by extreme poverty and discrimination.

New Democrats are committed to ending violence against women. Jack Layton co-founded the White Ribbon Campaign and Dawn Black championed the establishment of December 6 as the National day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Each of us can take action to prevent gender violence. It starts in our homes and communities when we show love and respect for our families and neighbours. It continues in our high schools when we implement violence prevention programs. It continues in our workplaces when women are not penalized for having families and are paid equally for work of equal value.  

Today, New Democrats stand with Canadians to mourn the deaths of these 14 women and acknowledge all other women who have been attacked or killed simply because of their gender.  We renew our pledge work together towards a world where women don’t have to live in fear.

We encourage all Canadians to observe a moment of silence and work today and everyday to put an end to violence against women.