December 6, 1999 marks the tenth anniversary of the murder of 14 women at cole Polytechnique in Montreal. Marc Lepine entered a classrooom at cole Polytechnique in Montreal with a gun. He very deliberately and systematically separated the men from the women and then he shot the women. He shot them because they represented something that Marc Lepine hated, women moving into non-traditional jobs. Most of the women were engineering students. One of the women was a CUPE member, Maryse Laganir0065, a secretary at the university.
I had the opportunity to address delegates at the Ontario Federation of Labour convention in a ceremony marking the tragedy and its significance in the fight against violence against women. I spoke to two members of Maryses local prior to the ceremony. As they told me, December 6 is a very difficult day for CUPE members at cole Polytechnique. “You see the students come and go but the staff remain year after year, always remembering that horrible day.” Local 1604 President Doris MacNeil stressed that we must teach our daughters to be strong. We must fight back until all women are free to be.