The massacre of Polytechnique, it was 28 years ago

The skies of Montreal illuminated 14 light beams projected from Mount Royal to the sky Wednesday night, 28 years after the slaughter of the École Polytechnique.

In a sober and unassuming atmosphere, survivors of the killings, family members of the victims and many others watched the snowflakes dance in the light for a few minutes before dispersing from the belvedere overlooking the metropolis.

The three levels of government were represented by women, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire, Quebec Deputy Prime Minister Dominique Anglade and Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante.

Sophie Grégoire, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister, Catherine Bergeron, the sister of a victim of the attack at Polytechnique, Valérie Plante, the Mayor of Montreal, and Dominique Anglade, the Deputy Premier of Quebec.
Sophie Grégoire, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister, Catherine Bergeron, the sister of a victim of the attack at Polytechnique, Valérie Plante, the Mayor of Montreal, and Dominique Anglade, the Deputy Premier of Quebec.
THE CANADIAN PRESS, RYAN REMIORZ
Dominique Anglade, who was 16 at the time of the tragedy, was in Haiti. It was at this moment that she decided that she would go herself to the École polytechnique and when asked why, she was surprised by herself.

“You have to ask the girl I was at the age of 16. I do not know. I think it’s to show that we’re still standing … maybe that’s an influence, “she said.

Her memory of the place, which she attended three years later, remains marked by the event.

“We can not go through Polytechnique and not be impregnated with what happened, because the school is impregnated, because the people who had lived the drama were still present when I was a student,” she recalled after the ceremony.

#me too

The Deputy Prime Minister believes that it was particularly important to highlight the event this year “with all that has happened with the denunciations of sexual harassment, sexual abuse”.

Valerie Plante abounded in the same direction.

“What happened at the Polytechnic is the worst, it’s a tragedy, but we also see the whole movement #moiaussi or #metoo, all these public denunciations where women talk about the violence is psychological or sexual that they are receiving again because they are women, “Plante explained.

The Mayor believes that it is still important “to remember this tragedy that took the lives of 14 young women who were killed because they were women”.

Weapons: a sad decline

One of the survivors of this drama, Heidi Rathjen, continues her fight for gun control with the organization “Poly remembers”, of which she is the co-founder.

Present at the ceremony, she could not help but deplore what she calls a demolition of the Harper government.

“Unfortunately, 28 years later, we still have to fight for better gun control,” she sighed.

“For 12 years, we had a good law, passed 6 years after the tragedy, in December ’95, but because of the Conservatives, we lost the vast majority of our gains.”

The activist has no intention of giving up the fight, saying that the families of the victims will return to Ottawa to continue to demand better control of weapons: “It is a concrete tribute to the 14 victims because it saves lives . ”

She regretted that the arms control laws had been weakened to the point where semi-automatic assault weapons, for example, were still legal and available in the country.

The massacre at École Polytechnique was the work of one man, who entered a university building with a semi-automatic weapon, shot dead 14 women, and wounded 14 others.

Earlier in the morning, a wreath of white roses had been placed in front of a commemorative plaque at the educational institution, which had invited its staff, students and the general public to come and gather there throughout the day.

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