Mr. Speaker, twenty-eight years ago, 14 women were killed in the École Polytechnique massacre. Engineering students were murdered because they were women and dared to aspire to a so-called man's job. It is a tragedy we will never forget. These women held such promise.
This is not just a terrible story from the last century. Despite all the struggles of the past decades, women and girls continue to face crisis levels of violence in Canada right now. Young women between the ages of 15 to 35 are at the highest risk of violence. More than 500 women and children are turned away from domestic violence shelters daily. These are women who ask for help and are turned away.
Indigenous women are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-indigenous women. Indigenous women are seven times more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women. Women living with a disability experience violence two to three times more often than other women. Domestic and sexual violence cost our country $12 billion a year. Rates of violence against women remain largely unchanged over the past two decades. It is a terrible legacy.
Let us also be clear: poverty and economic injustice make women less safe. Without financial security, women are forced into unsafe work and precarious work. Without financial justice, some women stay in abusive relationships because they have no option. Violence against women puts women into poverty and denies women their voice, and that denies Canada the benefit of what these women have to offer.
Our country is impoverished by the absence of women's voices from our national conversation, legislatures, and parliaments. That is a real cost of violence against women and sexism. We give deep thanks to the front-line, heroic, brave organizations that, on a daily level across the country, support victims of violence in our communities. Their actions matter.
Canada should ensure these organizations have permanent funding to operate domestic violence shelters. Canada should lead national coordination of police responses to violence against women so that women have equal access to justice no matter where in our country they live. Canada should do everything it can to help the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry succeed, and support families of survivors. Canada should legislate pay equity for work of equal value, fix employment insurance, fund universal affordable child care, all of these things, because economic justice for women can help end violence against women.
Today, we all celebrate the silence breakers ringing the alarm on sexual violence in the workplace, reporting it, and accelerating the fastest growing social movement we have seen in decades.
The best way to remember the 14 women murdered on this day and to mark the Polytechnique tragedy is to use the power we have as parliamentarians, the great privilege we have, to act to eliminate discrimination and violence against women. Our actions matter. New Democrats stand with all Canadians to end violence and to ensure never again.