The Montreal École Polytechnique massacre took place 28 years ago. On December 6, 1989, a man entered a university building and shot and killed 14 women, as well as injuring 14 others. As every year since, families of victims, dignitaries and citizens marked by the tragedy gather to remember the missing.
In the morning, at 8:30 am, a wreath of white roses was placed in front of a commemorative plaque at École Polytechnique. The educational institution invites its staff, students and the general public to come and gather there throughout the day.
In the late afternoon, another rally will be held on the Mount Royal Lookout from 5 pm.
At that moment, 14 light beams will be lit every few seconds, when the name of each of the 14 victims is called. The bright creation of Moment Factory will illuminate the skies of the city until 10 pm.
A minute of silence will follow during this commemorative ceremony, which will take place in the presence of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the Deputy Mayor and Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation, Dominique Anglade, the Mayor of Montreal , Valérie Plante, as well as survivors and relatives of the victims of the tragedy.
For one of the Polytechnique students who witnessed the murder of her colleagues, Heidi Rathjen, it is still important to remember the massacre of December 6, 1989.
“It’s relevant to talk about gun control,” says the woman who is working in this direction, including within the organization she co-founded, “Poly remembers”.
For her, the fight for arms control continues “partly in tribute to the 14 victims, as in the name of all past and future victims of firearms.”
She believes that the anniversary of the drama is an opportunity to think about it. To assess the progress and setbacks of gun control, and see what can still be done, “to minimize the chances that this kind of tragedy will happen again,” she said.
It is of the opinion that arms control laws have been weakened over the years and that semi-automatic assault weapons, for example, are still legal and available in the country.