NDP MP Leah Gazan on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

“Today is a tragic day in Canadian history. 32 years ago, at l’École Polytechnique, 14 women were murdered because they were women. In their honour, we continue to fight against gender-based violence today, and every day.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is a day to mourn the loss of the 14 young women, and we also remember the violence against women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people that is ongoing. In Canada, every six days, a woman is killed by her intimate partner and thousands of women and their children have to sleep in shelters because their home isn’t safe. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the epidemic of gender-based violence in Canada. In 2020, the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) reported 160 women and girls were killed in Canada, and in the first half of 2021, 92 more women and girls have been killed— this is disproportionately Indigenous women and girls.

A future without violence against women is possible. But it takes political will to do it. The federal government can start this work by immediately investing in 24 hour seven day per week low-barrier safe spaces for women, children, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people across the country and implementing a permanent guaranteed livable basic income as a measure to prevent women and children from being in unsafe economic positions, as noted in Call for Justice 4.5 of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The Liberals are not doing enough to stop the violence, especially the violence against Indigenous women, trans women, low-income women, disabled women, incarcerated women, and sex workers. Each person in Canada has the right to safety and security of the person. As women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people continue to be killed in this country, incremental justice is not enough.

We will continue fighting for a fully funded national action plan to end gender-based violence and for the Liberal government to immediately implement all 231 Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

Claire Johnston

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