Madam Speaker, today I rise to honour and remember the victims of the tragic massacre at École Polytechnique 33 years ago. As the first female engineer here in the House of Commons, I will tell members that these women were my sisters.
On December 6, 1989, an armed man entered a mechanical engineering class at École Polytechnique where he ordered the men to leave. Telling the nine other women that he was fighting against feminism, he opened fire, killing six. Clearing a path through the school, he mainly targeted women during a 20-minute shooting spree before turning the gun on himself. In the end, 14 women were dead.
I will name them now to respect them for the strong women they were.
Those women are Geneviève Bergeron, 21, mechanical engineering student; Hélène Colgan, 23, mechanical engineering student; Nathalie Croteau, 23, mechanical engineering student; Barbara Daigneault, 22, mechanical engineering student; Anne-Marie Edward, 21, chemical engineering student; Maud Haviernick, 29, metallurgical engineering student; Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, 31, nursing student at the University of Montreal; Maryse Laganière, 25, employee at Polytechnique; Maryse Leclair, metallurgical engineering student; Anne-Marie Lemay, mechanical engineering student; Sonia Pelletier, mechanical engineering student; Michèle Richard, metallurgical engineering student; Annie St-Arneault, 23, mechanical engineering student; Annie Turcotte, metallurgical engineering student, only 20.
As a female engineer, I have experienced the kind of misplaced anger from men that seeks to remove us from the workforce. We must do more to prevent such acts of violence in our country, especially those that specifically target women.
We have banned the gun that was used in these tragic murders, but we have not eradicated the hatred of men against women. Violent crime is up 32% in the country. Handguns were banned months ago, but we continue to hear of shootings every day in the country because the bottom line is that criminals do not obey the law and we cannot legislate morality. We need to try to address the gender-based violent attitudes that lead to the kind of awful deaths that happened at École Polytechnique.
In 2016, I was part of a study at the status of women committee to eliminate violence against women and girls. I am disheartened to see that the violent deaths of women continue to rise. We must address the root cause of misogynistic attitudes toward women.
That is the work we should be doing to give meaning to incidents like this one that happened 33 years ago today. That is a way for us to honour their memory.
These young women were bright and intelligent. Maybe some of them would have been elected to the House.
May we never forget them and may we work together to ensure this never happens again.