Canada marks 24th year since Ecole Polytechnique massacre

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women:

On December 6, 1989, the lives of 14 innocent and promising young female students were taken in a depraved act of violence at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, simply because they were women.

While we will never fully understand this atrocity, our government is committed to helping ensure that it does not happen again by making our streets and communities safe for women, girls and all Canadians.

Our government recognizes that violence against women and girls is a sad daily reality that takes a heavy toll on individuals and our communities. That is why we are taking action across the country to combat violence against women, through measures such as: committing greater resources to supporting victims of crime and protecting Aboriginal women; launching a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking; increasing penalties for violent crimes; and supporting Child Advocacy Centres to better serve young victims and witnesses of crime. In Economic Action Plan 2013, our government also committed $24 million over two years for the Family Violence Prevention Program to help improve safety on reserves.

We are also supporting other countries in their efforts to combat violence against women and girls. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the prevalence of sexual violence is among the highest in the world, Canada is providing long-term support to survivors of sexual violence and helping to prevent such crimes by bringing perpetrators to justice. “As we continue to work to eliminate violence against women, let us remember and commemorate the lives of all women who have been victims of gender-based violence.