Trudeau vows crack­down on hand­guns, as­sault weapons

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Mor­gan LOWRIE

MON­TREAL — Four­teen beams of light shone into the night sky from Mon­treal’s Mount Royal Thurs­day evening in mem­ory of the 14 women who died at the Ecole Polytech­nique en­gi­neer­ing school 29 years ago.

A crowd, which in­cluded Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, stood in si­lence atop the look­out as they at­tended a cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the vic­tims killed on Dec. 6, 1989.

As each woman’s name was an­nounced, a new beam il­lu­mi­nated the night sky, the 14 form­ing a semi-cir­cle around the dig­ni­taries, vic­tims’ fam­ily mem­bers and mem­bers of the pub­lic.

Later Trudeau and his wife, So­phie Gre­goire Trudeau, laid a wreath of white roses at the foot of a photo memo­rial of the women, ac­com­pa­nied by Que­bec Premier Fran­cois Le­gault, his wife Is­abelle Brais, and Mon­treal Mayor Va­lerie Plante.

Cather­ine Berg­eron, whose sis­ter Genevieve died in the shoot­ing, said the light beams are an ap­pro­pri­ate way to re­mem­ber the 14 bright women.

“They were lit­tle suns, bright girls with light in their eyes who were full of life, who wanted to do all kind of things,” she said, adding that they “never ques­tioned” the bright­ness of their fu­tures back in 1989.

Berg­eron said the mem­ory of the coun­try’s worst mass shoot­ing should serve as a call to ac­tion to elim­i­nate vi­o­lence against women that ex­ists to this day.

Ear­lier Thurs­day, Justin Trudeau said his gov­ern­ment plans to limit ac­cess to hand­guns and as­sault weapons to con­front gun vi­o­lence in the coun­try.

Speak­ing to Mon­treal ra­dio sta­tion 98.5 FM, Trudeau did not rule out a full ban when asked by the host.

“We are cur­rently re­flect­ing on how we are go­ing to do bet­ter to counter the vi­o­lence caused by hand­guns and as­sault weapons, yes,” Trudeau said. “What’s hap­pen­ing is un­ac­cept­able.”

Later in a news con­fer­ence, he said his gov­ern­ment is cur­rently con­sult­ing on the best way to move for­ward on gun re­form.

“I think peo­ple across the coun­try ex­pect us to do a bet­ter job pro­tect­ing our cit­i­zens and our com­mu­ni­ties from gun vi­o­lence,” he said. “There are con­cerns about the ac­cess that crim­i­nals have to hand­guns and as­sault weapons, and we’re go­ing to look at mea­sures to con­tinue to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe.”

In 2015, Trudeau’s Lib­er­als cam­paigned on a prom­ise to “get hand­guns and as­sault weapons off our streets.”

In Oc­to­ber, as Ot­tawa held con­sul­ta­tions on a pos­si­ble ban of the weapons, groups rep­re­sent­ing sur­vivors and fam­i­lies of vic­tims of Que­bec mass shoot­ings ques­tioned the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment.

They said they feared re­forms would come too late in the gov­ern­ment’s man­date to be passed be­fore the next elec­tion, sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 2019.

In a state­ment, Trudeau noted the vic­tims were tar­geted be­cause they were women.

“We re­mem­ber the vic­tims of this hate­ful act of vi­o­lence, and unite against the misog­yny at the root of this tragedy,” he said.

His state­ment did not men­tion firearms, but it called for ac­tion against vi­o­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion af­fect­ing women

In a cer­e­mony Thurs­day morn­ing, flow­ers were laid at a Mon­treal mon­u­ment hon­our­ing the vic­tims: Genevieve Berg­eron, He­lene Col­gan, Nathalie Croteau, Bar­bara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Ed­ward, Maud Havier­nick, Maryse La­ganiere, Maryse Le­clair, An­neMarie Le­may, So­nia Pel­letier, Michele Richard, An­nie St-Arneault, An­nie Tur­cotte and Bar­bara Klucznik Wi­da­jew­icz.


Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, right, chats with Que­bec Premier Fran­cois Le­gault af­ter a vigil hon­our­ing the vic­tims of the 1989 Ecole Polytech­nique at­tack in Mon­treal on Thurs­day.

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