We’ve all heard the story of the terrible events on December 6, 1989. It has been 30 years since an armed man walked into an Engineering class at École Polytechnique de Montréal, forced the men to leave, murdered 14 women and injured 10 others before taking his own life.
This misogynist perpetrator stated he was “fighting feminism”. These 14 women died because they were women, and the effects of this massacre are still felt by women across Canada and around the world. Despite 30 years of action and remembrance, women and girls in Canada still face violence in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities every single day. The rifle that was used that day is still legal in Canada. Women continue to be disproportionately targeted by gun violence.
We applaud the incoming government’s Throne Speech announcement of a national strategy to address gender-based violence and tighter gun controls in Canada, however this is not enough. We also know that we cannot simply rely on our “feminist” government to bring an end to violence against women and we must continue to take action..
Nationally, regionally and locally, the women of the CEIU have been working tirelessly by:
- Forming mandated Women’s Committees across all regions of CEIU to advocate for women’s rights in the workplace;
- Creating action plans at our women’s events such as our National Women’s Conference held in Québec in 2017;
- Lobbying their MPs on various women’s priorities;
- Supporting the Sister’s in Spirit vigils, led by Indigenous women who are raising awareness on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
- Organizing International Women’s Day marches, rallies and events, The Take Back the Night marches, the Annual Women’s March across Canada and worldwide every January;
- Facilitating training events for women and on women’s issues across Canada;
- Continuing our work through our committees and conferences to provide education and awareness on violence against women, employment equity and diversity, equal pay, affordable childcare, etc.;
- Having a CEIU National Vice President for Women sit at the National table with the Employer where a discussion on workplace Harassment and Diversity and Employment Equity are standing agenda items.
It is through our activism that we are able to demand action from the government and we must continue to organize to put an end to gender-based violence. We are very proud of the work we have done so far and look forward to the continued progress ahead to move the women’s agenda forward in all areas.
Our CEIU Women's Committee’s will be attending vigils across Canada in remembrance of ALL Women who have been impacted by gender-based violence. Please look for a vigil on December 6th and participate in your area. The labour movement should be in the forefront of fighting against gender-based harassment and violence. We encourage full participation in the movement when it come to this important work.
While this is a time for remembering the lives lost to violence, it is also a time to act. Please share this message widely and encourage members to take action on violence against women.
CEIU National Vice President for Women, Western Region
CEIU National Vice President for Women, Eastern Region