December 6 marked the 30th anniversary of the 1989 massacre in Montreal where 14 women were singled out and murdered because of their gender. One of those women, Maryse Laganière, was a CUPE member who worked at École Polytechnique.
Across Canada, participants at events were encouraged to speak up about violence and take action to end violence in the workplace, by demanding that the Federal government adopt C190 (please see attached pdf), the International Labour Organization’s Convention against harassment and violence.
In the Lower Mainland, a candlelight vigil sponsored by the New Westminster District Council and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) drew a crowd of around 100 people to Holland Park in Surrey.
The Vancouver Island District Council and PSAC held a vigil in Victoria. “It was a very dark and solemn night,” said CUPE BC Women’s Committee Chair and CUPE 459 President Amber Leonard. “I am thankful that the organizers read aloud the names of the victims and shared information on who they were in life before that horrible day.”
The Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC) and the T’kemlups Indian Band hosted the 12th Annual Shoe Memorial and introduced the Kamloops Red Dress Memorial. According to Statistics Canada, the homicide rate for Indigenous females has been nearly six times higher than that for non-Indigenous females.
“It is important that we continue to be vigilant and support our sisters, friends and family, educate our community and take action to stop this violence”, said Lois Rugg, KDLC President, and president of CUPE 4879. “This event reminds us that we all have a role to play in making our communities safe for women, girls and non-binary gender identified persons. We need to take action in our communities by supporting initiatives to end violence against women and girls and be active to make our workplaces, homes, and streets safe for everyone.”
Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.