Mr. Speaker, I rise to express the sadness I share with all Canadians who will take a moment today to reflect on one of the darkest moments in the history of this nation.
On December 6, 1989, a gunman entered a classroom in Montreal's École Polytechnique. He separated the men from the women, then shot the women. Fourteen young women died, ten more were injured and four men were also shot. Every Canadian who was alive at the time has a different recollection of the events of that terrible day, however, we were all united in our horror and our grief and our unlimited sympathy for the families of the women slain.
As a young Canadian woman, I felt shocked at first and then numb and then angry, a feeling that left me determined to help to ensure that this would never happen again. These families lost the best and the brightest, their beloved daughters, sisters, nieces and cousins, young women just setting out at the start of their adult lives full of life and love, energy and enthusiasm gone forever in a few moments of violence.
While Canada thankfully has not experienced an incident of the magnitude of the Montreal massacre since 1989, we are very aware of the fact that to end the violence against women much work remains to be done.
As Minister of State for Status of Women I am proud of the steps that our government has taken to address these challenges, including delivering the Tackling Violent Crime Act, working to prevent serious criminals from serving their sentences at home and increasing the funding to grassroots women's support groups across the country to address the many forms of violence.
Progress has been made, but more work remains to be done. Ending violence against women is not something that government can do on its own. Every Canadian has a role to play, whether by offering support to a woman caught in an abusive situation or teaching young children that all forms of violence and abuse are wrong.
Our government is united in its sorrow for women who are victims of violence and united in its resolve to end violence against women. It is time for us to face it, name it and end it.
On December 6, Canadians will pause to remember and grieve for the women who died in the Montreal massacre. I believe we serve their memory best by committing to face and end violence against the women and girls who are with us today.