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Thu Dec 14, 2017, 02:34 PM

Montreal massacre commemorated in Toronto amid social media calls to end gender-based violence

Last edited Thu Dec 14, 2017, 03:26 PM - Edit history (1)

Montreal massacre commemorated in Toronto amid social media calls to end gender-based violence

Commemorations and memorials were held across Toronto as the Governor General, prime minister, Ontario Premier and mayor spoke out on Twitter about the anniversary of the École Polytechnique and issue of gender-based violence.

Flowers are seen at the commemorative plaque during a ceremony held Dec. 6, marking the 28th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in 1989. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
By Bryann AguilarStaff Reporter
Wed., Dec. 6, 2017

As Canadians commemorate victims of the Montreal massacre in 1989 as well as other women who died because of their gender, many are speaking loudly about their commitment to ending gender-based violence.

December 6 marked the 28th anniversary of the attack at École Polytechnique in Montreal, where 14 women were shot to death and 10 others wounded by Marc Lépine in the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history. The date has been held as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women since 1991.

Memorials are held annually across Canada, including in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area to honour the memory of the victims: Nathalie Croteau, 23; Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Michèle Richard, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz​, 31; Maryse Leclair, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21; Anne-Marie Lemay, 22; Sonia Pelletier, 23 Maryse Laganière, 25; and Annie St-Arneault, 23.

Flags at city facilities in Toronto, Vaughan, Brampton, and Markham are flying half-mast in remembrance of the victims. The University of Toronto also lowered flags at all their campuses. Several post-secondary schools, including George Brown College, held ceremonies to mark the anniversary. Councillor Norm Kelly confirmed on Twitter the Toronto sign will be dimmed Wednesday evening, and the CN Tower will be lit in red in recognition. In a tweet, Mayor John Tory said to remember the women who were killed and to never stop working until gender-based violence is eliminated.

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École Polytechnique massacre

Coordinates: 45°30′17″N 73°36′46″W
École Polytechnique massacre

Plaque at École Polytechnique commemorating victims of the massacre
Location Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Date December 6, 1989; 28 years ago
5:10–5:30 p.m.
Target Female students at École Polytechnique de Montréal
Attack type
School shooting, mass murder, murder-suicide, hate crime

Hunting knife

Deaths 15 (14 victims + 1 perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrator Marc Lépine
Motive Antifeminism and Misogyny

The École Polytechnique massacre, also known as the Montreal massacre, was a mass shooting at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that occurred on December 6, 1989. Twenty-five-year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a rifle and a hunting knife, shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before committing suicide. He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the male and female students. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism" and calling the women "a bunch of feminists," he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. Overall, he killed fourteen women and injured ten other women and four men in just under 20 minutes before turning the gun on himself. His suicide note claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note included a list of 19 Quebec women whom Lépine considered to be feminists and apparently wished to kill. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history.

Since the attack, Canadians have debated various interpretations of the events, their significance, and Lépine's motives. Many feminist groups and public officials have characterized the massacre as an anti-feminist attack that is representative of wider societal violence against women. Consequently, the anniversary of the massacre has since been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Other interpretations emphasize Lépine's abuse as a child or suggest that the massacre was simply the isolated act of a madman, unrelated to larger social issues. Still other commentators have blamed violence in the media and increasing poverty, isolation, and alienation in society, particularly in immigrant communities.

The incident led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada. It also introduced changes in the tactical response of police to shootings, changes which were later credited with minimizing casualties at the Dawson College shootings.

. . . .

The Montreal massacre: Canada's feminists remember
In 1989, a gunman killed 14 women students in Montreal. This week, Canadian feminists will remember an event that scarred the country – and strengthened their radicalism
Massacre at Montreal, Canada, 1989
Students in shock at Montreal's École Polytechnique. Marc Lépine killed 14 women and injured 10 others on 6 December 1989. Photograph: Ponopresse Internationale/Rex Features

Julie Bindel

Monday 3 December 2012 16.00 EST
First published on Monday 3 December 2012 16.00 EST


It was a cold, drizzly day on 6 December 1989 when a young man brandishing a firearm burst into a college classroom at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada. The 60 or so engineering students there had little time to react before the men were ordered from the room and the gunman began shooting the women. Six female students were killed instantly, while three more were left injured.

The killer, 25-year-old Marc Lépine, was armed with a legally obtained Mini-14 rifle and a hunting knife: he had earlier told a shopkeeper he was going after "small game". Lépine had previously been denied admission to the École Polytechnique and had been upset, it later transpired, about women working in positions traditionally occupied by men. Before he opened fire, Lépine shouted: "You're all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!" One student, Nathalie Provost, protested: "I'm not feminist, I have never fought against men." Lépine shot her anyway.

The gunman then moved through the college corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. By the time Lépine turned the gun on himself, 14 women were dead and another 10 were injured. Four men were hurt unintentionally in the crossfire.

Francine Pelletier, a feminist activist and newspaper columnist at Montreal's La Presse newspaper, describes feeling "totally floored" on hearing about the massacre, but nothing prepared her for the discovery that she was on a list found by police in the killer's pocket. "Nearly died today," it read. "The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive."

Immediately after the shootings, various media commentators and quasi-psychologists proclaimed that Lépine was a madman and that the women just happened to be in the way, as opposed to being specifically targeted. A psychiatrist at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Quebec was quoted in La Presse as saying that Lépine was "as innocent as his victims, and himself a victim of an increasingly merciless society". "This was a period of a significant growth in men's rights groups," says Martin Dufresne, founder of Men Against Sexism, a group active at the time of the massacre. "But the public felt too uncomfortable with the political explanation."

. . .


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Reply Montreal massacre commemorated in Toronto amid social media calls to end gender-based violence (Original post)
niyad Dec 2017 OP
tblue37 Dec 2017 #1

Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Dec 14, 2017, 03:25 PM

1. K&R for visibility. nt

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