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On Dec. 6, 1989, a man divided men from women at the University of Montréal’s engineering faculty, told the men to leave, turned to the women, shouted “you’re all feminists,” then opened fire. He murdered 14 women before killing himself.

We contemplate what to do to commemorate the 17th anniversary of this horrendous event as we watch the federal government dismantle the Status of Women agency after removing the word “equality” from its mandate.

The Tory watchword for women seems to be “You’ve come far enough”, even though rates of violence against women are just about as high as they were on that fateful day in 1989.

Women in this country are launching a campaign to protest the government’s attack on Status of Women. Please take part, either online or at rallies planned for December 10th.

Many CUPE locals prefer to hold vigils to recognize Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.

Another suggestion is to plan and conduct a safety inspection or audit of your workplace.

Here are some questions to consider when considering a safety inspection/ audit to fit your workplace:

  • When and why do I feel uncomfortable in my workplace?
  • Do co-workers talk about or have experienced bullying or harassment here?
  • Is the lighting adequate in all areas, e.g. stairwells, corridors, or to and from the bus stop or parking?
  • Would anyone hear a call for help if there were a problem?
  • What changes would make female workers feel safer?

CUPE National’s health and safety branch has materials on dealing with violence. Also visit the Metropolition Action Committeee on Violence Against Women and Children for its Safety Audit Resource Kit.

Let CUPE National’s equality branch know what actions you and your local take so we can share ideas and success stories with other locals and members across the country. Email us at equality@cupe.ca; fax: (613) 237-5508, or telephone: (613) 237-1590.

This Dec. 6, remember and work for change. We can help end violence against women in our workplaces, our communities and in the federal government.

In solidarity,

National President

National Secretary-Treasurer