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The national officers of Canada’s largest union joined their concerns with those of citizens of Montreal, Quebec and Canada horrified by the tragic events that took place at Montreal’s Dawson College Sept. 13, 2006.

It is with a mixture of sorrow and frustration that we express condolences to the families of victims of the Dawson College shooting,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “We join countless others in lending our support to the families whose children lie wounded in hospital.”

Hundreds of CUPE members were affected by yesterday’s events. The daughter of a City of Montreal employee, a CUPE member, was injured in the shooting.

While this young woman is doing well, it is hard not to think back to the tragic death of another CUPE member at l’École Polytechnique in 1989,” Moist noted.

Throughout yesterday’s events in Montreal, CUPE members were active, both on the front lines and behind the scenes, in civilian roles in support of police, ambulance and firefighters,” said National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux,

Généreux praised 911 dispatchers. “We are so proud of Montreal’s 911 dispatchers,” he said. “They took hundreds of calls from distraught students, teachers and support staff. Many reported to work without being called in by their employer. And many evening shift workers came in early to support their colleagues.”

Monique Côté, president of CUPE 429 (Montreal municipal workers), reinforced the important role played by civic workers behind the scenes.

Citizens know so little about the dedication and energy civic workers bring to their jobs on a daily basis,” she said. “It takes a tragedy like this one to demonstrate how quickly and efficiently civic workers come together to make our public system work well in support of people.”

CUPE’s national officers also condemned violence in our society. For CUPE, effective gun legislation is only part of the solution. What drives someone to pick up a gun and shoot innocent students? What safety checks are missing in our society? What mental health or social supports have been cut back or eliminated? These are some of the questions we are asking ourselves in the aftermath of this tragedy.

CUPE believes these are some of the questions Prime Minister Stephen Harper must consider in the next session of Parliament.

CUPE represents more than 540,000 members across Canada.


Contact: Paul Moist, National President, cell, 613-558-2873; Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), cell, 514-884-5074; Louise Leclair, National Communications Director, cell. 778-838-0699