I can remember back 33 years ago being glued to the television in horror as the world learned of 14 women shot at l'École polytechnique de Montréal. They were young, bright engineering students despised by a gunman because they chose a career he believed belonged to men. I could imagine those students, close to the age I was at the time, hiding beneath tables and clinging to one another in terror that day. It ripped me apart then, and as a mother of a daughter preparing to go to university next year, it hurts me even deeper today. Despite all the lessons we hoped would have been learned since then, violence against women is happening more than ever. New Brunswick has the highest number of intimate partner violence in the country, and more women are murdered by their partner in our province than anywhere else in Atlantic Canada. These numbers haunt me. Our loved ones and neighbours are being seriously hurt and we need to acknowledge it and help get them the support they need. There are so many incredible organizations doing exceptional work in our community and across the province.
Today with Lieutenant-Governor Brenda Murphy, I co-hosted a vigil at Government House in remembrance of the women of the Montreal Massacre. Candles were lit for each of the victims and I lit the final flame to remember all the women who have died at the hands of their partner since then.
It was so special to me to have Cameron DeWinter, an engineering student from Sussex, join me to light a candle on this incredibly meaningful day. I thank everyone who lit candles and read poems, and applaud everyone who works daily to eliminate gender-based violence in our province.