Remembering Ecole Polytechnique, because we must

Victims plaque

The anniversary of the infamous Montreal Massacre is coming up on December 6. It will have been 28 years since the shooter took a semi automatic rifle to the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and opened fire. It was, and remains, the worst mass shooting in Canada since 1873. In the span of only 20 minutes, the shooter killed 14 women before taking his own life. Ten other women and four men were also injured in the attack.

As mass shootings become commonplace in the United States, it becomes more and more difficult for people to care about one that happened nearly 30 years ago. With 15 people killed in the attack, it seems small when compared with mass shootings south of the border, the title for worst of which has changed several times in only the last few years. However, we have to remember that, despite our proximity, we are not the United States. In Canada, mass shootings are rare. Ecole Polytechnique is not one of many such incidents. It stands alone. And in this current time of push back against feminism, it feels uncomfortably close to home.

The shooter at Ecole Polytechnique was not just a regular person. He was a misogynist. In a suicide note, he said that his motivations for attacking the school were that he did not get in to a program he had applied to. He attributed that rejection not to his own failings but rather to the fact that women were admitted to the school. He decided that women and feminism had stolen his place and ruined his life.

The idea that feminism is ruining the lives of men is not new. It is always a relevant topic. It drives women out of various fields, and makes many women live in fear that the death threats they receive will turn out to be real. The women who died at the Ecole Polytechnique did nothing to The shooter. They just wanted an education. If you think this attack is far removed from 2017, you haven’t been paying attention.


On December 6, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Brock’s own Centre for Women’s and Gender studies will host an event to mark the anniversary. The event will take place in Academic South 216 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will include guest speakers and refreshments. Donations will be collected for Gillian’s Place, a shelter for women and children in St. Catharines.

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