In recognition of National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women-December 6

Mr. Silver:   Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to also acknowledge and to pay tribute to the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

On December 6, 1989, 24 years ago tomorrow, a gunman entered a technical institute in Montreal and targeted women in the school. Before turning the gun on himself, he had killed 14 women and injured 10 others, as well as four men. He specifically targeted these women because they had beaten the odds in pursuing technical fields. They had fought against many barriers to enter a male-dominated field. For this courage, they were targeted.

How do we even begin to honour these women? How do we even begin to address the tragedy of this event? How do we scrape the surface of this injustice? The answer is, we cannot. We cannot bring these women back, we cannot make it better for the families and we cannot hold the gunman accountable. What we must do is continue to stand up against violence against women.

The Yukon is disproportionately plagued by violence against women. We need to put an end to this. We need to turn the table and to lead the nation in respectful treatment of women. There is much good work going on, on that front, Mr. Speaker. Yukon women and women’s organizations across the territory are bringing issues of violence against women to the forefront in the hope of ending this violence.

Men have also stood up in the Yukon and forwarded their support to end this violence against women. The exponential growth of the White Ribbon campaign is a great sign of this. This issue is about more than just violence against women, though. As long as women have to fight against the system and a society that prevents them from progress, violence against women will be a risk.

Mr. Speaker, only one-quarter of this Legislature is made up of women. We need to salute the six women who have overcome the odds to get here today, and it is a travesty that that statement is true. Moving forward, we must commit to have a more equal representation in the next election. Only when we have equal representation of women in our government and in our corporations will there actually be a true, fair playing field. A fair playing field is perhaps our only hope at truly ending violence against women and preventing tragic events like the one that occurred at l’École Polytechnique 24 years ago.