Madam Speaker, I want to sincerely thank all my colleagues for giving me your consent. I also thank them for their support; we are all united at this time.
I want to warmly thank my colleague, the member for Toronto Centre and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.
I would also like to thank my dear colleague, the member for Sarnia—Lambton, who is an engineer. Her message touched me.
All of us here, as women in this place, do work in an environment that is traditionally male dominated. All of our society is dominated by the notion of patriarchy. Men are usually in charge.
On this day of remembrance, it is especially difficult to think about the events of December 6, 1989, a day I remember as though it were yesterday.
For all of us women who were alive, conscious and politically aware, there was the deliberate killing of 16 women who were so young. Their only crime was being in a classroom to study to become an engineer. Their only crime was to be a woman. Margaret Atwood said that men are afraid that women will laugh at them, and women are afraid that men will kill them.
We are in a time, as many of my colleagues have mentioned, where violence against women is on the rise. Women who are intimate partners are at risk. There is no question that the words of the member for Winnipeg Centre should ring out clearly across Canada that women are particularly at risk when they have two crimes: They are women, and they are indigenous.
The recent charges brought against a serial killer in Winnipeg for those deaths must again wake us up to misogyny, racism and the crimes of a toxic culture in which patriarchy is the accepted default position. We have to ask ourselves what more we can do. There is no question that every member of every party in this place is saying it is time that we must end violence against women. Here we are 33 years on, and violence against women continues.
What we can say is that we need our allies. On this day, when so many women turn to each other in sisterhood and solidarity, we embrace especially our male colleagues. They are the men who will stand and say that they are a feminist, the men who will stand up and say that patriarchy belongs in the dark ages of history.
We must speak out against femicide. We must stand with those women still in Afghanistan and help them to survive. We must stand with all indigenous women and girls across this country, and stand with the families of those who still do not know where their fallen mommies, aunties, sisters and daughters are. We must say that it is time to end violence, violence against women, violence against each other and the violence we carry in our hearts.
The killing of the 16 women on December 6, 1989, must never be forgotten. It is of them we think of this day. We also say we know that ending violence is a job for us all. It does not just fall on women, and it does not just fall on governments. It requires that all of us, heart to heart and neighbour to neighbour, pay attention and protect anyone we see as vulnerable. We must step up in the moment when we hear hatred spoken, because words of hate can turn into acts of hate.
We must, especially in this place, because we are here and we know each other, try harder to take the violence out of our language and to take polarization out of our politics. Then we can say to Canadians that we are a country that takes care of each other, we love each other and, in memory of the16 women who were killed on this day 33 years ago, we banish hate from our hearts.