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Killing at Polytechnique - 33 years later: Engineering students implore the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to respect their commitments and support the Liberal amendment to ban assault weapons

QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 6, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - On the 33rd commemoration of the killing at Polytechnique, student associations from Quebec and Canada gathered in front of the science and engineering building at Laval University to make a final plea to federal politicians to vote in favour of a total ban on assault weapons, the goal that Polytechnique engineering students set for themselves at the time.

Students participate in the Pan-Canadian student movement NOT HERE event organized by QCESO at Laval University for the 33rd commemoration of the Polytechnique feminicide. (CNW Group/Confédération pour le rayonnement des étudiants en ingénierie du Québec (CREIQ))
Students participate in the Pan-Canadian student movement NOT HERE event organized by QCESO at Laval University for the 33rd commemoration of the Polytechnique feminicide. (CNW Group/Confédération pour le rayonnement des étudiants en ingénierie du Québec (CREIQ))

An amendment to this effect is currently before a legislative committee of the House of Commons. Given the context of a minority government, the amendment requires the support of at least one opposition party to pass. The vote could take place any day.

"We implore the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to vote for this amendment and make Canada a country with sane gun laws. It would be unimaginable if these parties were responsible for the failure of a campaign that began before we were even born, and for such a popular and essential measure," commented William Sylvain, of the Quebec Confederation for Engineering Student Outreach (QCESO).

"The violence generated by semi-automatic guns and military-style accessories such as high-capacity magazines affects young people directly. This threat will not go away with emergency plans or active shooter drills in our schools. We need to ban the weapons that can kill multiple people in seconds with the pull of a trigger," says Juliette Gagnon of QCESO.

"We don't want these guns," Juliette added. "Firearms based on military weapons are designed to kill quickly and efficiently. They are the weapons of choice for mass killers. School massacres don't happen only in the United States. We are not immune to this type of violence. We need only think of Polytechnique, Concordia and Dawson. And in all these cases, the killers were legally entitled to own the weapons they used. Everything must be done to minimize the chances of such weapons falling into the wrong hands. We don't know who the next mass shooter will be. It could be anyone. You can't read people's minds. You can't predict what someone's mental state will be in the future. That's why we need to eliminate access to all assault weapons."

"It is not uncommon to meet people who have experienced firsthand the tragedy of December 6th, 1989, when you are part of the Polytechnique community," adds Nicolas Charron, of the Association étudiante de Polytechnique. "The mere presence of these people is a constant reminder of what happened on Polytechnique grounds and how much this tragedy affected everyone. There is still a long way to go to eliminate feminicides and massacres of all kinds that can be committed with firearms. The solution obviously lies in controlling such weapons; therefore, we encourage the opposition political parties to support the amendment."

"As engineering students, it's easy enough for us to see the logic. The lethality of injuries increases with the caliber. The number of casualties multiplies with a semi-automatic mechanism. Powerful sniper rifles can reach targets over two kilometers away. No one needs these weapons. The potential cost to society is too high. We've already paid with lives. One mass killing is already one too many", concludes Juliette Gagnon.

ABOUT:

The NOT HERE movement is made up of 17 student associations across Canada that unite over 250,000 students. Their main goal is to prevent mass killings in schools, mainly by banning weapons that facilitate this kind of extreme violence.

SOURCE Confédération pour le rayonnement des étudiants en ingénierie du Québec (CREIQ)

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