Dec. 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

HEU marks the anniversary of the most horrific cases of violence against women in Canadian history

It has been 19 years since the fourteen female students were gunned down on December 6 at Montreal’s l’École Polytechnique in what is one of the most horrific cases of violence against women in Canadian history.

The Hospital Employees’ Union, along with individual Canadians and countless organizations, has recognized the anniversary of the December 6 massacre every year and turned it into a day of action and education about violence against women.

HEU’s annual sticker honours the memory of the women who died. But our focus doesn’t begin and end on December 6. We continue to work with others to end violence and discrimination against women and girls in B.C. and in Canada on many fronts.

For example, this year, Canada submitted its report to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as part of the responsibility that came with the signing the UN Convention of the same name.

A coalition of women’s organizations - of which HEU is a part – also presented a report to the UN Committee. But unlike the federal government’s submission, the coalition report chronicled the uninvestigated or inadequately addressed cases of missing and murdered women, the majority of whom were Aboriginal, in Canada over the past 20 years. Among the sites of missing and murdered women are two infamous B.C. locations, the Pickton farm and Highway of Tears.

Recently, the United Nations Committee responded by calling on the Canadian government to launch an inquiry into the cases of the missing and murdered women to find out why the response by law enforcement was so poor, and how to ensure that this is going to change. The Committee also requested a report back within the year.

Please take action on December 6 and throughout the following week. Join others across the country in supporting the UN Committee’s call. Contact your area Member of Parliament (MP) and send an email or fax to her or him endorsing the UN recommendation and pressing the federal government to act immediately.