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Statement by the Prime Minister on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women:

“Today, on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, I join Canadians across the country in paying tribute to the 14 young women who were senselessly murdered and 13 others who were injured on December 6, 1989, at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. We honour their memory and unite our voices in condemning the misogyny that led to this tragedy.

“As we remember the victims of this hateful, cowardly act, we are also reminded that, for countless women, girls, and gender diverse people in Canada and around the world, violence is a daily reality. This threat, which has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, is unacceptable and must be addressed. That is why, on this day, we reaffirm our commitment to speak up and take action against any form of violence against women, including during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which run until December 10.

“We all benefit when women and girls are free from violence and can live their lives to the fullest. Building on its Gender-Based Violence Strategy and the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Government of Canada announced in Budget 2021 a new investment of more than $600 million over five years to develop a National Action Plan to End Gender‑Based Violence. This 10-year plan will provide concrete solutions to prevent gender-based violence, address the root causes and systemic issues that perpetuate violence against women – including in the legal and justice system – and ensure timely access to support services and protections for survivors. As part of the investment announced in Budget 2021, the government committed $30 million, over five years, to support crisis hotlines in their work to help those experiencing gender-based violence. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have invested nearly $300 million to support shelters, sexual assault centres, and organizations assisting women, children, and LGBTQ2 and gender non-binary people experiencing violence. We will continue to be there for these organizations to make sure they are able to provide the necessary services and support to those who need it most.

“Since the massacre at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, many other lives have been tragically lost to gun violence, including in Quebec City, Toronto, and Nova Scotia. Although we can’t change the past, we can ensure that we do not repeat it. Canadians know that there is no place in our country for weapons designed to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. That is why, last year, the Government of Canada announced a ban on more than 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms and some of their components, including the weapon used at the École Polytechnique. This was an essential step toward building a safer Canada, and we will continue to take steps to strengthen gun control measures, remove dangerous weapons from our streets, and make sure everyone can live a life free from violence.

“On this solemn anniversary, I invite Canadians to honour the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre. Our thoughts are with their loved ones as well as the survivors of this senseless tragedy. Let us also reflect on what we can all do – through our words and actions – to end gender-based violence and foster a society where women, girls, and gender diverse people feel safe, are respected, and can reach their full potential.”