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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 2009

In the Massacre’s Wake

Twenty years ago on Dec. 6, 25-year-old Marc Lepine walked into Montreal’s École Polytechnique with a semi-automatic rifle.

Once inside the school, Lepine began a shooting spree during which he murdered 14 women and injured 13 others: nine women and four men, before turning the gun on himself. Lepine believed it was because of “affirmative action” policies promoted by feminists and their sympathizers that he was not accepted to the engineering school. His suicide note blamed feminists for ruining his life and listed 19 prominent Quebec women in non-traditional occupations whom he’d also hoped to kill.

The 14 women who died in the massacre were: Anne-Marie Edward, Anne-Marie Lemay, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Daigneault, Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Michèle Richard, Nathalie Croteau and Sonia Pelletier.

These women became symbols — tragic representatives — of in­justice against women. Women’s groups across the country organized vigils, marches and memorials. There was an increase in support for educational programs and resources to reduce violence against women. Both federal and provincial governments made commitments to end violence against women. In 1991, the Canadian government proclaimed December 6 the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.