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On the 22nd anniversary of the massacre at Ecole Polytechnique, where 14 women were singled out and murdered because they were women, the mother of one  of the victims told the crowd gathered for a rally at Parliament Hill about the importance of the gun registry.

We are about to lose a tool that is proven to save Canadian lives, to save women’s lives, to save children’s lives,” said Suzanne Laplante-Edward.

The Conservative government introduced a bill to kill the registry on Oct. 25. The date would have been the 43rd birthday of Anne-Marie Edward—Laplante-Edward’s daughter.

The registry was established in part as a response to the events of Dec. 6, 1989. Dec. 6 has since become recognized as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

CUPE joined hundreds of CEP members and other supporters for the rally at the hill to protest the government’s proposed legislation.

CUPE National President Paul Moist addressed the importance of the registry in a ceremony at CUPE national office prior to the rally. “The gun registry has saved many lives, including the lives of CUPE members,” said Moist. “Today we remember 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique, and all other victims of violence, and we vow to continue the fight for positive change. A piece of positive legislation is being stricken away for all the wrong reasons.”

The proposed legislation, Bill C-19, has already gone through committee review and is expected to be voted on before the house breaks for the holidays. CUPE made a submission to the standing committee on public safety and national security against the bill.

The bill goes even further than previous attempts to dismantle the registry, as it proposes to destroy the data collected by the registry, preventing provinces from using the data should they wish to establish their own registry. The government of Quebec has already expressed an interest in doing so.

Destroying the data likely violates Canadian law as well. Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault was quoted by the Canadian Press as saying that destroying the data “does raise major concerns in terms of transparency and accountability in general.” Legault went on: “As information commissioner, I have serious concerns about the impact this bill will have on government information management.”

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