Events in Ottawa to mark anniversary of Montreal Massacre

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On this day in 1989, 14 women were shot and killed at Ecole Polytechnique by gunman Marc Lepine, 14 other people were injured in the attack.

Circle Council Member Kimberley Young-Milani was among three women who read a passage during the memorial.

It was also a call to action to help put an end to violence against women.

To create change, it is essential to recognize that the issue of violence against women knows no frontiers. Lit candles, a screen displaying the names of the young women so mercilessly slaughtered and the soft strains of piano music honour the lives lost.

Ella Thomson wasn't even born in 1989 when 14 women were killed at École Polytechnique, but she says learning about the tragedy was a sobering reminder of the violence women in non-traditional fields have faced. By lighting the night, they hope to draw attention to the need for action on violence against women in Canada.

"Equipping students with values and an understanding of societal impacts and the ethics of what they do I think will make them stronger graduates who will have a greater impact, not just technically but in the larger landscape of things", she says.

"Unions have a significant role to play in ensuring women's safety at home and in the workplace and in advocating for support for women facing violence every day".

The stark reality is that half of all Canadian women have experienced at least 1 incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. Nirmala Armstrong, herself once a victim of domestic violence, said.

"It's a very fitting connection", Keefer said. "Together we have a responsibility to foster a culture of respect and inclusion".

The worldwide campaign, wrapping up December 10th, began in New Jersey and unites individuals, organizations, activists and government leaders to take a stand against gender-based violence.

"Hearing about the disgusting tragedy that happened here was a real eye-opener for me, recognizing that even relatively recently there was a lot of violence towards women who wanted to pursue male-dominated fields", she said after the ceremony.

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