Mr. Speaker, it has been 32 years since the femicide at École Polytechnique, in which 14 women were killed and 14 others were injured.
Communities, families and friends were plunged into grief when they lost a loved one to this massacre, this senseless act of violence.
This hate crime attacked the fundamental rights of women and girls everywhere, including our right to security, equality and education. It shook Canada's conscience to the core. It was a day of reckoning, forcing the country to accept this crisis of violence women are faced with, far too often absent of supports as a result of generations of systems that have chosen to turn a blind eye to this violence, a crisis of violence that continues to be perpetuated.
As we gather here today to mourn the massacre at the École Polytechnique, the crisis of violence against women and diverse-gendered peoples continues. In 2020 alone, 160 women were murdered, which means a woman is killed every other day on average, and girls younger than 11 years old experience the highest rate of homicides.
Tragically, rates of violence have increased even more since the pandemic and are 400 times higher in some areas. Inaction costs lives. Almost 50% of femicides are committed by an intimate partner, and women are five times more likely to be killed by their intimate partner.
This experience of violence impacts all age groups, including half of all women, who experience at least one incident of gender-based violence before the age of 16, 30% of women 15 or older, who report experiencing a sexual assault at least once, and the over 6,000 women and children who sleep in shelters on any given night because it is not safe at home.
This epidemic of violence is even more pronounced when viewed through an intersectional lens. Women with a disability are three times more likely to experience violent victimization compared to women living without a disability. Trans individuals are more likely to have experienced violence by the age of 15 and are also more likely to experience inappropriate behaviours in public, online and at work than cisgender individuals.
Indigenous women are killed at seven times the rate of non-indigenous women. This is a recognized genocide against indigenous women, girls and two-spirit individuals that has become so normalized in this country that when a young Gitxsan woman's door was violently torn down by the RCMP using an axe and a chainsaw, it barely made the news.
Today I wish to honour all the women who lost their lives at École Polytechnique by calling on all members of this House to stop talking and immediately act. Gender equality is a human right, and failing to protect this fundamental right results in the loss of life, precious lives: our sisters, our mothers, our aunties, our grandmothers and our daughters.
My NDP colleagues and I want the families who lost a loved one in this tragic massacre to know that, today and every day, we honour 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 St‑Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
Enough is enough. We remember them. We will remember them through our actions. May they feel, for all eternity, the warm embrace of their ancestors. They are loved.