On December 6th, we commemorate the lives of the 14 women killed in Montréal in 1989. On this day, we remember all women and girls who are murdered or experience violence by partners, family members and strangers throughout this country. On this day, we recommit to take action against all forms of violence against women and girls in our society.
It has been more than 20 years since these 14 young women were murdered in Montréal simply because they were women.
On this day, the Canadian Labour Congress expresses our dismay in the Canadian government’s lack of meaningful action to end violence against women and girls.
The Canadian Labour Congress is appalled at the government’s untimely and disgraceful effort to weaken the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act. By abolishing the long-gun registry and destroying its database, the government is eliminating a concrete and successful measure to reduce gun violence against women – a measure created in direct response to public pressure in the wake of murders at Montréal’s École Polytechnique.
The evidence is clear. The registry has helped save lives. The rates of homicides and suicides involving rifles and shotguns are down substantially. The rate of women murdered with firearms by their intimate partner has decreased by 69 per cent.
In addition to being an effective tool to help end violence against women, the National Firearms Registry helps keep our workplaces and our communities safe. Police officers, first responders and other front-line workers rely on the information provided by the registry every day to help keep safe on the job.
Under Bill C-19, the Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle used in the Montréal murders will no longer be subject to registration requirements. By removing the ability to track these weapons, the government puts us all at risk.
On this day, we urge Canadians to send a clear message to the Members of Parliament: to listen to the evidence, to the victims and to workers affected by gun violence and maintain this important tool for workplace and community safety.
Canada’s labour movement will continue to work with allies to call on the government of Canada to consider the victims of violence and their families on this day and to follow through with concrete action. Keep the gun registry. Reinstate funding for research, policy and advocacy so organizations promoting a society free of gender violence can do their work effectively. Prevent violence not by building more prisons, but by building housing and childcare, by creating jobs and ending poverty.
Let us work together to end violence against women and girls across Canada.
The Canadian Labour Congress believes that our responsibility to end violence against women doesn’t just happen once a year. We need to take action every single day.
To help us remember that violence against women occurs across generations and that it is the responsibility of women and men to work to end gender violence, the Canadian Labour Congress has created a new rose logo, the work of Jaime Koebel, a Métis woman originally from the community of Lac La Biche, Alberta. In addition to the image of a rose to signify women, there is an accompanying rose bud, to signify young women and girls. The stem, which incorporates the white ribbon, symbolizes the commitment needed from men to be a part of the solution by helping grow a future without gender violence.
The beauty and strength of the rose depends on its stem and environment around the plant, much like the need for a greater movement to end violence against women and girls.
We have produced car magnets with the new rose logo and encourage Canadians to display them as a reminder that women and men of all generations stand in solidarity to promote a future where we are all safe.