Elizabeth May’s statement on the anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre

Speaker: Ms. May
Time: 06/12/2022 10:26:18
Context: Statements by Ministers

Mme Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, PV): Madame la Présidente, je veux dire un grand merci à tous mes collègues de m’accorder cette permission et aussi de leur soutien. Nous sommes tous ensemble en ce moment.

Je veux dire un grand merci à ma collègue la députée de Toronto-Centre, qui est ministre des Femmes et de l’Égalité des genres et de la Jeunesse de ce gouvernement. Je remercie mon cher collègue le député de Sarnia—Lambton, qui est ingénieur et qui a partagé un message touchant. Je remercie aussi mes collègues la députée de Shefford et la députée de Winnipeg-Centre.

All of us here as women in this place do work in an environment that is traditionally male dominated. All of our society is dominated by the notion of patriarchy. Men are usually in charge.

Il est particulièrement difficile, en cette Journée nationale de commémoration et d’action contre la violence faite aux femmes, de penser aux événements du 6 décembre 1989, un jour dont je me souviens comme si c’était hier.

For all of us women who were alive, conscious and politically aware, the deliberate killing of 16 women, so young, their only crime was being in a classroom to study to become an engineer, their only crime was to be a woman.

Margaret Atwood said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

We are in a time, as many of my colleagues have mentioned, where violence against women is on the rise. Women who are intimate partners are at risk. There is no question that the words of the member for Winnipeg Centre should ring out clearly across Canada that women are particularly at risk when they have two crimes, that they are women and are indigenous.

The recent charges brought against a serial killer in Winnipeg for those deaths must again wake us up to misogyny, racism, and the crimes of a toxic culture in which patriarchy is the accepted default position. We have to ask ourselves what more we can do. There is no question that every member of every party in this place is saying it is time we must end violence against women, and here we are 33 years on and violence against women continues.

What we can say is that we need our allies on this day. When so many women turn to each other in sisterhood and solidarity, we embrace especially our male colleagues, the men who will stand and say that they are a feminist, the men who will stand up and say that patriarchy belongs in the dark ages of history.

We must speak out against femicide. We must stand with those women still in Afghanistan and help them to survive. We must stand with all indigenous women and girls across this country, and with the families of those who still do not know where their fallen mommies, aunties, sisters and daughters are. We must say that it is time to end violence, violence against women, violence against each other, and the violence we carry in our hearts.

The killing of the 16 women on December 6, 1989, must never be forgotten, it is of them we think of this day, but we also say we know that ending violence is a job for us all. It does not just fall on women, it does not just fall on governments; it requires that all of us, heart to heart, neighbour to neighbour, pay attention and protect anyone we see as vulnerable. We must step up in the moment when we hear hatred spoken, because words of hate can turn into acts of hate. We must, especially in this place, because we are here and know each other, try harder to take the violence out of our language, to take polarization out of our politics, so that we can say to Canadians that we are a country that takes care of each other, we love each other and, in memory of the16 women who were killed on this day 33 years ago, we banish hate from our hearts.