Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, my
question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
In the aftermath of the massacre at l'École Polytechnique de
Montréal, we learned that Mr. Lépine was a deeply troubled
young man with a violent attitude toward women. Having grown
up in an environment where abuse against women was common,
Mr. Lépine unleashed his disturbed sentiments toward women
by killing 14 female engineering students on December 6,
Understanding the profound influence his social
environment had in forming his anti-feminist opinions, which
led to his horrific actions, could the Leader of the
Government in the Senate please tell the chamber what steps
the government is taking to combat abuse against girls and
women, especially as it relates to educating and building
awareness for youth and young adults?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and
Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, all
women and men remember December 6, 1989. I remember that
horrific day. It was a cold, bitter day.
This morning, the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker
of the House of Commons and representatives of political
parties participated in a ceremony marking this tragic date.
As both Speakers noted, a disturbed and deranged man
struck down 14 young women who were in the prime of their
lives. All levels of government are working and have worked
extremely hard to address this serious issue.
Violence against women is now, and always will be, a
serious matter. Since 2007, through Status of Women Canada
alone, we have supported 117 separate initiatives to address
abuse of women, domestic violence, culturally based gender
violence and violence against Aboriginal women. One year
ago, on behalf of the Government of Canada, Minister of
State Guergis signed on to the UNIFEM Say No to Violence
Against Women campaign. As the honourable senator is aware,
we also support the Sisters in Spirit Initiative, which is a
five-year initiative to address racialized and sexual
violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
There is no easy answer to dealing with a person like
Marc Lépine. All levels of government have undertaken
initiatives to combat this issue including, and I believe
most importantly, the initiatives undertaken under the
chairmanship of former Senator Kirby on the issue of mental
health and mental health issues, dealing, at least in part,
with one aspect of this serious issue.
Society as a whole cannot and will not tolerate views
such as those held by Mr. Lépine. Each and every one of us
should be on the look-out to prevent situations like this
from happening again.