The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Toronto Lecture Guns and Global Security: From Neighbourhoods to the United Nations

Posted by cgccanada on April 14, 2010

Coalition for Gun Control President Wendy Cukier will speak at Guns and Global Security: From Neighbourhoods to the United Nations, part of the Contemporary Dilemmas in Canadian Security Lecture Series of the York University Centre for International and Security Studies Thursday 22 April 2010, 7-9pm, Marriott Hotel Eaton Centre 525 Bay Street, Toronto (Free Admission).

The Contemporary Dilemmas in Canadian

Security Lecture Series:

Guns and Global Security: From

Neighbourhoods to the United Nations

Thursday 22 April 2010
Marriott Hotel Eaton Centre
525 Bay Street
(Free Admission)

The problem of ‘civilian possession’ of firearms has undermined global and national efforts at controlling small  arms and light weapons. Canada is a producer and exporter of arms, as well as a recipient of both legal and less  than legal transfers of weapons, mainly from the United States. For Canadians this has translated into greater numbers of guns on our city streets, and a more dangerous environment for our military forces when they are deployed abroad. The problem of ‘civilian possession’ of firearms is to be addressed at multilateral arms control negotiations under the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms & Light Weapons (SLAW) and the Arms Trade
Treaty (ATT). This forum seeks to explore the relationship of civilian possession of arms and problems of control, both domestic and international for creating conditions of security and insecurity. The questions that we raise are the following:

  1. How to interpret the concept of ‘civilian possession’ under the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons?
  2. What are the problems with ‘civilian possession’ of small arms and light weapons that the Canadian Forces face?
  3. What are the problems and prospects of regulating small arms proliferation within Canada and the United States?
  4. How the problem of ‘civilian possession’ of weapons in Canada and the US needs to be addressed by state and non-state actors ?
  5. What effect will this have on arms trade as practiced by Canada and the United States?

Speakers:   Wendy Cukier, Ryerson University
Ken Epps, Project Ploughshares
James Sheptycki, York University
Gregory Getty, Toronto Police Service
Moderator:   Barbara Falk, Canadian Forces College

If you would like to attend please pre-register via this link:

For further details on this event please see:


Posted in Current Events | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Toronto Lecture Guns and Global Security: From Neighbourhoods to the United Nations, Apr 13 2010, Peter Small “Dad killed mom, traumatizing son, court told”

Posted by cgccanada on April 14, 2010

What kind of father traumatizes his son by murdering his mother? A friend of Edyta Lewandowski asked that question at a sentencing hearing Tuesday for the slain woman’s estranged husband, Donald Sneyd. “All she wanted was her son, and Don couldn’t let her have that,” Carlene Duncan-Marino said in her victim impact statement.
“So he decided to take her life.” On Feb. 25, 2008, Sneyd fired a bullet into the neck of his 32-year-old wife as she stood in the foyer of his east Toronto home. She had come to pick up their 2-year-old son, who cannot be named, for a regular visit at her home in Maple. The couple were locked in a bitter custody battle, with Sneyd, a social worker, accusing her of being mentally unstable, suicidal and an unfit mother. Charged with first-degree murder, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the midst of pre-trial hearings. He brandished a handgun, he claims, to scare her into agreeing to his custody and access terms. But they struggled and he intentionally shot her. “She gave her life for her son,” a sobbing Elzbieta Lewandowski, Edyta’s mother, said in a victim impact statement co-signed by her husband Jerzy. “Our lives are full of grief and pain. Every day we ask ourselves, why her, such a wonderful young girl, full of life and strength?” (…) His guilty verdict has spared the Crown the difficulty of proving its case, which was by no means certain, Rosen said. “The issue of who brought the gun was up in the air.”
But the one who has lost most is the boy, Rosen said. “He has lost a mother forever and a father, essentially, forever.” The judge asked Sneyd if he had anything to say.  “I just want to say I’m sorry, your honour,” Sneyd replied. Trafford will sentence him on Friday.

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from: CBC News, April 12, 2010 | 7:58 PM “Suspect charged in Neepawa shooting”

Posted by cgccanada on April 13, 2010

Robert Patrick Ray Morand was arrested after he turned himself in at a police station in Winnipeg, RCMP said on Monday.No other suspects are being sought, RCMP said.Brent Michael David Bialkoski, 23, died early Saturday after he was shot inside a home on Third Avenue in Neepawa, which is about 160 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.The home belongs to the father of Bialkoski’s fiancée. Police have not revealed any of the circumstances leading up to the shooting, which happened just before 4:15 a.m. Saturday. Const. Miles Hiebert said the case is not connected to gang activity

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From TORONTO STAR – MARCH 14, 2010 LETTERS: A long gun claimed life of OPP officer, Column, March 12

Posted by cgccanada on March 15, 2010


The tragic death of OPP officer Vu Pham shows we need more gun control not less. MPs will soon vote on scrapping the gun registry because of “costs.” The start-up costs were expensive, but upkeep is cheap and saves lives. Deaths from gun use in domestic violence and suicides are way down since the introduction of the registry. What price do MPs place on human life? Bill Chadwick, Newmarket

Posted in Cost of gun violence, Current Events, Gun Registry, long gun amnesty | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on From TORONTO STAR – MARCH 14, 2010 LETTERS: A long gun claimed life of OPP officer, Column, March 12

From CBC News: Gun control advocates urge feds to keep registry

Posted by cgccanada on March 3, 2010

Last Updated: Friday, February 26, 2010 | 8:09 PM ET

Several Quebec politicians and gun control advocates are calling on federal MPs to vote to keep Canada’s long-gun registry.

The Conservative private member’s bill to abolish the registry passed second reading in the House of Commons last year, with several NDP and Liberal MPs voting with the governing Conservatives to abolish the registry

Bill C-301 will have its third reading in the House of Commons when Parliament returns from prorogation next week.

Heidi Rathjen, a survivor of Montreal’s 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, said at Friday’s news conference in Montreal that the leaders of the Liberal party and NDP need to unite against the move.

Rathjen, who has become an advocate of the registry since the massacre, said it does work.

She pointed to statistics showing the registry has helped reduce domestic violence deaths by 70 per cent since it was established as a result of the massacre.

“To Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatieff, who both say they support gun control, I say words are not enough, it’s actions that count.” Rathjen said at the news conference.

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From Shot fired in rent dispute

Posted by cgccanada on January 26, 2010

A Winnipeg woman is in custody after firing a rifle in a dispute over money at a home in the North End on Saturday night, police said.

The shooting happened just after 8:40 p.m. CT Saturday, at a home in the 100 block of Parr Street.

A 22-year-old man and a woman, 24, were arguing over rent money with a woman believed to be their landlady when their dispute turned into an armed confrontation, police said.

A woman, 35, pulled out a rifle, pointed it and fired, Const. Jason Michalyshen said.

“Obviously [she] wasn’t happy with the direction the conversation was going and took it to another level,” Michalyshen said on Sunday.

No one was injured in the shooting, police said. Police seized a firearm at the home.

The woman remains in custody and has been charged with a number of weapons offences, Michalyshen said.

link to story

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From He stood against guns

Posted by cgccanada on January 14, 2010

‘Gentle giant’ testified in shooting: Pal
Last Updated: 11th January 2010, 5:22am

The sole remaining witness to a shooting that many believe led to the murder of “gentle giant” Kenneth Mark said yesterday she’s certain the Toronto man was killed because he took the stand against gun violence.

It was the concern over whether or not to “snitch” that kept Mark from pointing a finger until about a month after he was shot in September 2008, Robyn, who didn’t want her last name published, said yesterday, a day after Mark’s funeral.

Robyn and her then-year-old son, Malakai, were outside their St. Clair Ave. W. and Runnymede Rd. housing complex with Mark when a gunman wearing a disguise snuck up behind and fired a shotgun, spraying Mark’s face and shoulder with pellets, Robyn said.

“(Mark) pushed us backwards to get in my door,” she recalled, adding she or Malakai would have been shot had they not been blocked by Mark.

The shooting came mere days after Mark confronted a teen in their housing complex about brandishing a gun.

The Walmart manager didn’t threaten to go to police, but rather told the teen something along the lines of, “This is not a ghetto,” Robyn said.

“He didn’t want guns shown to the children.”

Mark was certain the shooting was connected to the confrontation and that he knew who the triggerman was, but he didn’t point fingers right away, Robyn said.

“There’s a big thing in our community about snitching, right? You’re not supposed to be a snitch. Things happen to you, you stay quiet and take it into your own hands,” she said. “That’s how we have so many good people dying, so many youth dying, so many black men dying.”

Two teens were charged with attempted murder and held in custody until last month, when charges were dropped against one teen and the other stood trial.

Mark gave crucial testimony, but the second teen was acquitted on Dec. 17 because of weak eyewitness identification of the masked shooter.

On Dec. 29, less than two weeks after the acquittal, Mark was shot in the back of the head while walking to work.

Grief rippled through the community. Read more

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From Toronto Sun: 28 murder victims – 28 killers at large

Posted by cgccanada on January 4, 2010

Toronto Police are still on the hunt after a bloody year left 62 people slain in the city


Last Updated: 3rd January 2010, 4:48am

Of Toronto’s 62 murders of 2009, there are 28 slayings left unsolved. The victims are:

Jan. 4: Evelyn Alfaro Mendez, 34

Mendez was shot in the head in an SUV on Talwood Dr. after driving three cousins home to Toronto and visiting her boyfriend, before heading to a nightclub she never reached.

Detectives, who hoped her partying with girlfriends and dancing at Latino clubs might provide clues, said the Malton mother of three had no ties to the Leslie St. and Lawrence Ave. E. residential area where she died. The second victim of 2009 was found in the still-running vehicle that was registered to another person.

Jan. 16: Kevin Boateng, 18

With no witnesses, motive or crime scene, the ex-Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School student’s stabbing remains a mystery.

“Kasa,” who had brushes with police but no criminal record, died in hospital two days after flagging down a passerby just before midnight, then collapsing on Davenport Rd., east of Old Weston Rd. Detectives believe he was attacked nearby.

Jan. 20: Basil ‘Bizzy’ Bryan, 23

The second 2009 victim of deadly violence in 12 Division was shot twice in the back at Keele St. and Avon Dr., south of Eglinton Ave. W.

A father for eight months, he and a pal went for a meal around 10 p.m. and were filmed walking by a business security camera as a lone gunman opened fire. Det.-Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said the “ambush” left the quiet young man dead and his friend luckily ducking then running before the killer strolled away.

Feb. 1: Jahmelle Grant, 26

Silent witnesses who saw Grant shot in an alleged Weston Rd.-Lawrence Ave. W. area booze can packed with patrons have frustrated homicide officers and left relatives angry.

A father of one who had brushes with the law but whose family denied he had gang ties, Grant was driven to a hospital by friends. They refused to talk to investigators.

Feb. 22: Peter Joel ‘Bugz’ Bowen, 20

The award-winning city track-and-field and cross-country competitor was shot by two gunmen in the lobby of the Driftwood Ave. apartment building where he lived with his family.

Police said Bowen was with two friends when bullets riddled a hallway and steel doors as he ran for his life, collapsing just outside the Jane-Finch area building. Rough remarks suggested he and the shooter had clashed before.

Feb. 28: Kaser Kerry St. Louis, 24

St. Louis was shot dead, then run over outside the Little Ochie Bar and Restaurant on Kennedy Rd. north of Lawrence Ave. E.

Police released two video surveillance segments related to a wild melee inside that spilled outdoors and ended with two other men wounded. Detectives say witnesses remain silent.

April 22: Omar Leyson Waite, 29

The Gators member in Toronto’s gang-plagued northwest died one day after being shot several times near rush-hour traffic at a Jane St. and Eglinton Ave. W. bus stop.

Waite had a lengthy record for assault, weapons and violence, and died two days after a rival Generals gang member was gunned down in an alley.

May 1: Jarvis St. Remy, 18

The high school student and aspiring engineer was heading home for his midnight curfew when a gunman left him dying in a Dundas St. W. bus stop west of Scarlett Rd.

Described by relatives and friends as reserved, studious and devoted to family, he died in hospital. Since her first-born’s death, his mom Clemee Joseph has made repeated appeals for youths to avoid violence.

May 11: Adrian Johnston, 14

The youngest of this year’s unresolved murder victims was gunned down on a Scarlett Rd.-St. Clair Ave. area hydro field one day after Mother’s Day.

In August, his mom was joined in a vigil by 30 people on the field for what should have been her son’s 15th birthday, saying “the sick individual who took Adrian from us is still walking the streets — Adrian is not able to do that.” Stephanie Johnston also lamented the lack of calls to police by people she was certain know who killed the Runnymede Collegiate Institute student.

June 7: Ayoob Abdulgadir Aden, 16

Well-known and liked in a Dixon Rd.-Kipling Ave. neighbourhood complex, the teen was visiting an aunt there when he was stabbed — the last male in the shattered world of his grieving mom and three sisters.

Responding to a neighbour’s call, police found him in the lobby of the building where he was with two friends in an apartment when an argument erupted with a fourth person. His two wounded friends survived, but the young teen — whose father vanished and brother died during strife 17 years ago in Africa — died a day later.

July 10: Kristian ‘Kristy’ Thanapalan, 22

Six men and a woman drinking and passing a volleyball in Glamorgan Park on Antrim Cres. in Scarborough got into an argument when one of the victim’s friends threw the ball at a car after cricket players began speeding from a parking lot.

An hour later, up to 35 men with bottles and bats swarmed Thanapalan and his pals, whose female friend was sleeping in a car. The aspiring York University student died from a blow to the back of his head and several friends suffered bruises and cuts. Police have narrowed their search for the killer after interviewing his friends, but are still trying to crack their “group mentality.”

July 19: Tevon Mitchell, 18

The year’s first fatal victim of a drive-by shooting died outside a packed upscale Scarborough mansion while attending a birthday party.

Known as “T-Pain” or “Tevo,” he was found on the driveway of the Rouge Hills Dr. home near Port Union Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E. just before 2 a.m. A West Hill Collegiate Institute student, Mitchell was among more than 80 guests inside and outside before the shots were fired and two cars drove off.

Aug. 1: Wesler ‘Tyson’ Fabien, 25

The Ottawa resident and a Montreal pal were shot around 4:30 a.m. outside the Howard Johnson on Avenue Rd. after a night of partying with friends in the Entertainment District.

The lone gunman waited in their hotel parking lot as they parked their silver Range Rover, then ran off after triggering his gun several times. Fabien died in hospital, his friend survived.

Aug. 10: Tevane Sean Anthony Lennon, 34

The furniture store worker was cycling home with groceries when he was confronted near Melody Park by a gunman outside a car occupied by at least two people on Sultan Pool Dr., near Martin Grove Rd. and Finch Ave. W., just before 11 p.m.

Lennon begged for mercy before the shooter fired more than a dozen bullets. The father of a three-year-old was gunned down near where another man survived being shot July 31 in crime-plagued Jamestown.

Sept. 2: Jamie ‘J’ Hull, 30

The drifter was reportedly shot close-up in the back in the courtyard of an eastside housing complex.

Investigators said they did not know why he was in the Blake St. complex, near Danforth and Pape Aves., where he once lived, but confirmed Hull was being sought for threatening to shoot a woman and her family. A man was seen running away.

Sept. 5: Kamal ‘Tall-up’ Hercules, 21

After spending the evening with friends, the first of two Labour Day weekend murder victims was shot outside a Rabba Fine Foods store at Sherbourne and Front Sts.

A month later, following “great co-operation” from area residents, police released surveillance photos of a potential witness to the 3:45 a.m. shooting. Hercules had no criminal history and no apparent beefs with anyone, a detective said.

Sept. 7: Sheldon Henry, 23

Hit by multiple slugs in a North York housing complex, the well-known drug dealer had a lengthy criminal record for sexual assaults, weapons and drug offences, and boasted on Facebook of his profitable exploits.

The father of two was left slumped in a doorway outside a lowrise Field Sparrow Way building northwest of Leslie St. and Finch Ave. E. Witnesses reported hearing an argument and people running from the complex, where he lived until June but regularly returned to do business.

Oct. 10: Bernard Christian Derro, 19

The teenager was one of seven people shot over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Derro, the only one killed, was found in the lobby of his Parkdale building on Jameson Ave., south of King St. W., around 11:30 p.m. Police suspect a shooter got into a first-floor apartment by a balcony, argued, then opened fire, leaving a second man wounded.

Oct. 18: Christopher Skinner, 27

Newmarket lawyer Warren Skinner and his wife, Ellen, last month offered a $25,000 reward raised by relatives, friends and colleagues, and made a desperate bid for help to find the driver who deliberately ran down their son.

Toronto Police are still seeking occupants of an SUV who confronted him at Adelaide and Victoria Sts., perhaps for touching the vehicle as it passed. He was walking home from sister Taryn’s birthday party in the Entertainment District around 3 a.m. when at least two men knocked him down, then drove over him.

Nov. 2: Theodoros Tiku, 27

Known as “Freshie” on the streets and to police who watched his exploits as a youth in Regent Park, Tiku was shot repeatedly in the head by a suspected rival gang member on Gough Ave., near Pape and Danforth Aves.

The Silent Soldiers gang leader’s bodyguard was on the wrong side of the Don River, on turf occupied by the breakaway Point Blank Souljahs. Det. Mike Carbone said Tiku appeared to have been targeted by his killer.

Nov. 11: Robert Flagiello, 18

Family and friends will have no trouble remembering last Remembrance Day, when the teenager was hit by a stray bullet fired by a man in the middle of a west-end street.

Gunfire erupted after Flagiello left an Oakwood Ave.-Vaughan Rd. area recording studio around 8:30 p.m. and an uncle said the rapper –who had just moved back into the area to help his single mom raise his two brothers — collapsed after getting friends safely inside. Five men arrested in a nearby barbershop were later released.

Nov. 17: Alexander Rodney Rundle, 28

Known as Alex, the 7th homicide victim of November was shot several times in the chest during a violent Etobicoke home invasion in the Kipling Ave.-Dixon Rd. area.

Around 7:30 p.m., three masked gunmen burst into the 129 Wincott Dr. bungalow, where four people lived, including Rundle and his father Bill, owner of Rundle’s Contracting where his son worked. Another tenant, whose name wasn’t released, escaped with a minor wound, wearing only his underwear.

Nov. 22: Shane Kelter, 32

Assassinated by a gunman near an upscale Toronto condo, the Independent Soldiers gangster from Vancouver was sought by police in California, where he was indicted in 2008 as a kingpin on conspiracy, money-laundering and drug charges along with two other Toronto men and three other Canadians.

Kelter and Vancouver friends spent the night at an Exhibition Place club and had just left their limousine to visit a friend’s condo when a gunman approached, opened fire, dropped his handgun and ran off. The motive for his shooting on St. Joseph St. remains unknown, but abandoning such a weapon is a gangland hitman-style trademark.

Nov. 22: Alton Reid, 35

The Malvern Crew member formerly with the Versace Crew died one day after being shot in the head in a gang-related attack during a birthday party at the Atlanta Banquet Hall.

About 200 people were in the Ellesmere Rd. hall when bullets from at least two guns fired by men who bought tickets to the party felled him and left four “innocent bystanders” with lesser injuries, Det. Paul Worden said. The Pickering father of one was acquitted after his arrest during a 2004 police sweep of the Malvern Crew, but had a 2003 record for possessing a gun.

Dec. 3: Aeon ‘Gates’ Grant, 19

An apparent ambush left the teen with a fatal head wound and three “friends” injured after being targeted by a gunman in a stairwell of a North York public housing highrise where Toronto Police later focused on a crackhouse for possible clues.

Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux called the shooting just before midnight on the 15th floor of 30 Falstaff Ave., near Jane St. and Hwy. 401, a “very focused attack on these individuals,” who were left with nowhere to escape. Of the three survivors who ran off, two 17-year-olds were found in a nearby plaza and a 25-year-old walked into a hospital.

Dec. 7: Laura Rios-Gleggro, 45

The shooting of the Colombia-born businesswoman and mother of three, who for 20 years ran a shipping business between Canada, Ecuador and her homeland, was all-the-more chilling since she was slain while tending to her little daughter.

Emma, 2, was unhurt in the backseat of her mom’s truck when the owner of Rios Envios was ambushed around 8:45 p.m. by a waiting gunman outside her Weston apartment building north of Lawrence Ave. In a letter on, she said two Colombians in November 2008 offered to develop a computer program for her firm but she lost $10,000 in the venture and customers were ripped off after her client and business database was stolen.

Dec. 9: Tafari ‘Tuff’ Spear, 30

A gangster arrested in 2003 during a police sweep of the Tretheway Gangsta Killers died in a hail of bullets that left a suspected rival street gang member wounded, police say.

The shooter and 50 patrons in the Classic Cocktails bar on Wilson Ave. fled after the shooting, and Det.-Sgt. Wayne Banks said only a handful of people bothered to contact police later. Uncertain if Spear was targeted for his gang links, Banks was particularly keen to talk to three women who were with the victim when he was shot.

Dec. 29: Kenneth Mark, 29

Captured on surveillance videos, a gunman and his lookout are sought after Toronto’s last murder victim of the year was shot in the back of the head around 10 p.m. while heading home in the Gilmour Ave.-Dundas St. W. area with a pizza slice after his Wal-Mart shift.

The 6-foot-5 “gentle giant” was an activist who worked with police to protect the Junction area from violence. Shot with a pellet gun in 2008 after asking two men not to bring firearms near a playground, friends believe he was targeted for standing up to thugs and Det. Hank Idsinga said police believe the killers mapped out Mark’s nightly routine.


Link to Article

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From CBC News: Gun control advocates fight ‘misinformation’

Posted by cgccanada on December 9, 2009

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | 3:42 PM ET

CBC News

Twenty years after the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, survivors, victims’ families, police officers and others are fighting what they are calling a campaign of misinformation about the federal long-gun registry. The groups, which also included advocates working on suicide prevention, appealed to the public to support the existing registry in a news conference in Montreal Tuesday. A private member’s bill that would eliminate the requirement to register rifles and shotguns passed first reading in the House of Commons on Nov. 4. The minority Conservative government was able get Bill C-391 approved thanks to the support of some Liberal and NDP back-benchers. Those opposition MPs were swayed by a misleading campaign promoting the bill, says Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control. “I think if you are in Quebec, it is hard to understand what is going on in the other provinces,” said Cukier. “There is a highly motivated and well-resourced gun lobby getting a lot of advice and support from the National Rifle Association in the United States.” The Conservative Party has also invested in a publicity campaign that has put pressure on opposition MPs to support the bill, Cukier said. “People keep talking about the ‘billion-dollar registry’ — which implies to many Canadians that if we eliminate the registration of rifles and shotguns, we’ll somehow save billions of dollars,” she said. “As the police have said, getting rid of the … [registry] will save at most $3 million a year.”

Useful to police

The registry is a good tool for police officers and is used on average 11,000 times a day, said Denis Côté, president of the Quebec Federation of Municipal Police Officers. Côté said he can’t understand the logic of those fighting for its abolition “I go hunting,” he said. “But people that go hunting, they have driver’s licences; they do have to register their ATV; you need a permit to drive a boat. So, how come when it comes to [registering] your firearm, it is so complicated? “It is a privilege to own a firearm.” Sylvie Haviernick’s sister, Maud, was killed in the Dec. 6, 1989, massacre at the École Polytechnique. That day Marc Lépine walked into a classroom at the engineering school and used a .223-calibre Sturm, Ruger rifle to shoot 14 women before turning it on himself. Haviernick said Tuesday that she doesn’t think many Canadians were aware of Bill C-391 until it was adopted. “I was shocked … when I saw the results of the vote,” she said. “But I think that maybe the results forced people to move.” Haviernick said she is hopeful the bill will help reignite the calls for gun control that led to the creation of the gun registry in the wake of the Polytechnique shooting. “It was not a question of [political parties]. It was a question of national consensus,” Haviernick said. “I truly believe that, again, the answer will come from us … the people. “What we need to do is … show what we gained over time and what we risk in the future [by losing the registry].” Bill C-391 now heads to a House of Commons committee for review.

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From: The Canadian Press, December 7, 2009, Grief still raw, 20 years later. Services held in Montreal, around country in memory of slain women

Posted by cgccanada on December 8, 2009

MONTREAL — Jean-Francois Larivee still remembers Maryse Laganiere’s piercing blue eyes the day he met her at the Universite de Montreal in the mid-1980s. Larivee and Laganiere went on to marry and find happiness — until it was brutally shattered on Dec. 6, 1989, when she and 13 other women were gunned down in a murderous rampage at the university’s Ecole polytechnique. “Who knew she would lose her life there four years later?” Larivee said at an emotional ceremony Sunday at the Notre-Dame Basilica attended by about 1,000 people, including survivors of Marc Lepine’s hatred. “I found the strength to survive, to love, through that situation.” Larivee said Laganiere would be proud of the work that has been done over the past 20 years to toughen gun laws since Canada’s worst mass shooting. Donald Turcotte remembers waiting expectantly for more news when he found out that fateful evening about the tragedy. His sister Annie was a student at the engineering school. She turned out to be one of Lepine’s victims after the feminist-hating gunman entered a classroom, ordered the men outside and began mowing down women. “My parents lost their only daughter,” Turcotte told the hushed gathering. “The same pain was lived out in 13 other families.” Earlier in the day, white ribbons fluttered in the breeze and several hundred Montrealers formed a human chain as they remembered the 14 women. Their names were read out at a downtown park and a minute of silence was held in their honour. Many cheered as speakers highlighted the importance of doing everything possible to eliminate violence against women. “It’s a painful, a horrible moment, but at the same time it’s a moment for us to look back and see where we want to go now,” said Alexa Conradi, president of Quebec’s main women’s group. Ceremonies were expected to take place all across the country. Thirteen other people, including nine women, were injured in Lepine’s 20-minute rampage. While the massacre prompted a toughening of Canada’s gun-control laws, Conservative MPs, along with a handful of Liberals and New Democrats, voted in principle last month to kill the long-gun registry. The move sparked an emotional response in Quebec as Montreal’s police chief, survivors of the massacre and a gun victim’s mother urged politicians to support the registry. The head of the Coalition for Gun Control said Sunday the fight to preserve the registry will continue. “We’re down, we’re not out,” said Wendy Cukier. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement it is important for Canadians to remain committed to eliminating violence against women. “On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 bright, talented, young women were murdered at l’Ecole polytechnique de Montreal in one of the most tragic acts of violence against women in our country’s history,” Harper said. “Their deaths galvanized the need to end violence against women in the hearts and minds of Canadians. “Today, on Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, we should all take time to remember and reaffirm our commitment to continue working to protect the lives, dignity and equality of all women.”

Posted in Current Events | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on From: The Canadian Press, December 7, 2009, Grief still raw, 20 years later. Services held in Montreal, around country in memory of slain women