MP angered by potential shutdown of long-gun registry

On the 21st anniversary of the Dec. 6 massacre at l’Ecole Polytechnique, a Liberal MP has slammed the Harper government for threatening to destroy records generated by the long-gun registry.

On Dec. 6, mourners gathered at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto to memorialize the 14 women killed at l’Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.

MP Carolyn Bennett attended the memorial. Following the ceremony, she emphasized the need – on a political level – to end violence against women. In particular, Bennett reacted to the federal government’s introduction of Bill C-19 which, when passed, will repeal the registry.

“(It’s) disgusting,” she said. “This makes absolutely no sense.”

She explained that the Long Gun Registry, voted in by the government of Jean Chretien in 1995, gave police a view of the number and types of long guns in Canadians’ homes.

“I think you want that kind of information in order to keep people safe,” she said.

The keynote speaker at the memorial service, feminist Lawyer Pamela Cross, acknowledged that more work needs to be done on a governmental level to end violence against women.

“We have a much better awareness of this issue and there has been some significant movement on the government level,” Cross said. “But we … have to address women’s equality in Canada and we have to address women’s poverty or women will remain very vulnerable to ongoing violence in their lives.”

Bennett said in the years immediately following the Montreal massacre, there were several proactive steps taken on a political level to end violence against women. But in recent years, the same intensity and enthusiasm toward ending violence against women is no longer there.

“Instead of it being the 21st commemoration of success, of coming of age, of a violence against women movement, it feels a little bit like we have to start again,” Bennett said.