Premier John Horgan and Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, have issued the following statement to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women:
“Each year in Canada, we mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day, we remember the 14 women who were murdered at École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
“Fourteen stolen lives – women who were killed out of hatred.
“This horrific act of murder and misogyny took place more than 30 years ago. To this day, many people still remember the moment they heard about the nightmare unfolding at École Polytechnique. The pain and memories remain, as do the dangers of sexist attitudes, beliefs and prejudice, which all too often have life-threatening consequences.
“Year after year, we come together to honour these 14 women who had their lives stolen from them. They were robbed of the opportunity to graduate, to build a career, to grow old alongside their family and friends.
“And while we grieve their loss every year, gender-based violence remains a terrifying reality faced by far too many women.
“The harm caused by gender-based violence – whether committed decades ago or today – is clear. Indigenous women and girls, people of colour, trans people and others in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and sex workers are at even greater risk of being targeted.
“Everyone has the right to feel safe at home, school, work and in their community. Gender-based violence must end.
“We are taking steps to make our province safer for everyone. We are building hundreds of homes where women and children escaping violence have a safe place to recover and rebuild their lives. New funding for emergency sexual assault services will also support survivors.
“We are making the services British Columbians depend on more gender-diverse and anti-racist. And we are committed to building an affordable, inclusive and quality child care system that will create more opportunities for women’s economic independence and benefit families for generations to come.
“And yet, there is still more for us to do to ensure that everyone in our province has the opportunity for safety, success, health and connection in B.C.
“We are also working on an action plan to help end gender-based violence in B.C. This plan will recognize the connections with other key government action, including new standards for services, better training for people working in the justice system and more stable, secure funding for sexual assault centres.
“We are continually reminded of the need to centre those most marginalized in our plan to address gender-based violence. Lives depend on us taking action.
“But we need help from all British Columbians. Inaction is not an option. We must continue to support and look out for people experiencing gender-based violence.
“Watch out for each other, speak up and be there when those around us need help.
“We remember the 14 women who were killed on Dec. 6, 1989: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte.”
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