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Remembering l’Ecole Polytechnique - 30 years later - BCGEU

December 6, 1989 was a Wednesday like any other: I spent the day at the childcare centre I worked at surrounded by kids and my colleagues. I found out about the massacre at l'Ecole Polytechnique on the radio while I was driving home that evening.

I was shocked and devastated at the news. Having been raised in a strongly feminist family, the idea that 14 women had been singled out and killed by a man targeting feminists shook me to my core. For me, and for millions of other Canadian women and feminists, that day changed the fabric of our country.

Thirty years later, I'm proud to work alongside strong feminists from every point on the gender spectrum as a member of a union that has done and is doing so much to eliminate gender-based violence in all its forms-from implementing anti-violence programs like "Be More Than a Bystander", to negotiating domestic violence leave and anti-bullying/harassment language into collective agreements, to being the only union in Canada to be granted standing at the Commission of Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls-the BCGEU does good work.

But as much work as our union does and as much progress as our society has made, the fact is that 30 years after the Montreal Massacre women in Canada-especially Indigenous women and trans women-still face disproportionate risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence from men.

There is so much more to do.

December 6th is a chance to honour the memory of the women who were killed by a man because they were women-Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colga, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

December 6th is a chance to recommit to creating families, workplaces and communities that are free from gender-based violence, discrimination and harassment in any form. 

December 6th is a chance to ask yourself: what more can I do in my family, my workplace, my union, and my community?


In Solidarity,

Stephanie Smith