Twenty years later -

Twenty years later

Anger over the long gun registry is felt at ceremonies marking the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre


Private and public ceremonies were held in Montreal and Toronto Sunday to mark the 20th anniversary of the École Polytechnique shootings. On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lepine opened fire on the female members of an engineering class, in a self-proclaimed attack against feminists, taking the lives of 14 women and himself. For Family members and survivors, who after the Montreal Massacre pushed for tougher gun laws, this anniversary comes with more frustration and sadness as last month the government voted to scrap the long-gun registry. Also, marking the anniversary is an article in the Ottawa Citizen, in which engineering professor Monique Frize talks about the shadow the shooting has cast on her field, where female enrollment continues to dwindle.


Ottawa Citizen

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Twenty years later

  1. Polytechnique survivor Nathalie Provost – who is an incredibly impressive individual – sums it up best in her globe interview:

    "I'm stunned that they want to modify the firearms registry. A firearm is a dangerous object. We register cars and need a licence for them. I don't see why it's scandalous to ask people to register and get a licence for firearms."

    • Even more impressive would be if Nathalie can explain why she would feel the tiniest bit safer knowing that approximately 65% of the long guns out there are registered.

      • 1) sorry ranter i missed the part where she made clear that she did not want more then 65% of long guns registered.

        2) you are assuming that she let herself be anything… from my reading of the interview she advocated her own thoughts at her own behest.

        • She expressed her desire that guns be registered. You were impressed, and said so. I asked what is so impressive about such a sentiment, and why she would feel that the current failed registry would make her any safer. The registry was symbolic. And I can completely understand how Nathalie Provost – given her experiences – can become very attached to that symbol. That doesn't mean I have to go along with it.

          • who said you had to go along with it? you made two rhetorical challenges, i responded and you are continuing to make stuff up…. did you read the interview? no need to answer, it is clear from your comments….she never said anything about feeling safer or any other motive for supporting the registry or what she saw as the optimal level of registration…

            also where exactly did you ask me what was so impressive about such sentiment? FYI, while I concur with her view that guns should be registered, that is not what impresses me about her.what impresses me about her is her amazing positive and generous spirit, hopefulness and faith in humankind in the face of living through such a tragedy. i wish i had half her gumption.

  2. It wouldn't be a problem registering firearms if the government was not incompetent. I registered my Mac and I am sure it's not a two billion dollar program. Needless to say, registering weapons will do little to stop an individual who is intent on violence. For that you have to look at better security in institutions. This sounds like an individual case of a sort of mental illness. It may point to the failures of Canadian society to address this issue. As for everyday violent crime the best way to go is minimum sentencing and also graduated sentences. The three strike law in some US states is a great idea.

    • Agreed. The registry did not have to be implemented in that manner. They didn't have to go after all current gun owners and set a deadline with criminal charges if it wasn't met. They could have simply started registering all gun transactions, and within a few decades they'd have had a registry a lot more complete – with a lot more compliance – then they will ever enjoy with the current registry. But no. The Chretien government saw some political hay to be made by leveraging the Polytechnique massacre, and they weren't about to pass that up.

  3. "Ms. Provost makes the same false assumption that nearly every proponent of the gun registry does. She assumes that government is benevolent and that civilians are not."

    i think you are putting words in Ms. Provost's mouth she says nothing about who she trusts and who she doesn't. she simply says it is a good idea to have to register dangerous objects, including long guns, like we have more many existing products. do you oppose the requirement of having to register vehicles bu virtue of the same thinking?

    • I did not put words in her mouth. Her desire for the gun registry results from a desires to see less violence. The only way this can occur is if restricting civilian access to firearms through a registry reduces violence _and_ the concurrent increase in the disparity between civilian and police arms does not result in an increase in rights violations by the police. These two outcomes can only occur if people who put a uniform on in the morning are benevolent and those who do not are not.

  4. So true. And since the state is not going to give up its tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, we the public should all own them too.

    All I'm waiting for is the Boxing Day sales.

    • My comments concern the balance of power between the police and civilians. They do not concern the military. This is because the military is almost never used against civilians. All your arrogant hand wave serves to achieve is to reveal your ignorance — a complete inability to address the substance of my arguments in kind. Typical Easterner.

  5. wow making clear that you are both a biggot and that you advocate being prepared to take up arms against the state in the same post… well done.

    • Of course, I support civilians taking up arms against the state if all other means of change are spent. Any good liberal does. Look at our history. Individual liberty became an important Canadian value because of the Glorious Revolution in England. Responsible/democratic government came to Canada because of the Upper Canada Rebellion. The Metis were able to vote nearly 100 years before all other natives because of the Red River Rebellion. Civilian use of guns against the state have been essential in Canadian history to the defence of liberty — even recently. Look at the Mohawk protecting their property rights at Oka. They succeeded.

      I have a general intolerance of Central Canadians in political matters, but that doesn't make me a bigot. In fact, my intolerance stems from their bigotry. Bigotry here is defined as being obstinately convinced of one's own rightness. Easterners tend to display this trait is not being happy with just implementing their values in their own jurisdiction. They think it must become federal policy and apply to all other regions because they _know_ their way is right. Think about how Ontarians react when a Western province like B.C. wants to experiment with private healthcare.

      • 1) If you want to use a proponent of big government like David Miller as a typical Central Canadian, I may as well paint all Westerners as racist bigots like that Robert Seymour fellow.

        2) Those are some pretty notable examples of civil revolt that dealt with extreme situations, like stopping Charles I from being power mad, and enabling Louis Riel TO be power mad. Police justifiably protecting civilians from other civilians is less notable, but is the kind of thing that happens every day so we don't give names to every incident.

        3) You make your own assumptions. You are assuming that police will violate civil rights in the absence of the possibility of a civilian shooting them. Guns are commonplace in Africa and the Middle East, but that doesn't stop police corruption because they might get shot. That possibility only serves to loosen their trigger finger.

        4) Registration is not a ban. Registering cars doesn't reduce car usage to an unhealthy degree. Cars serve a more valuable role in Canadian society then guns do. This is a personal assumption based on how very few policemen who I've seen justifiably killed by civilian firearms.

  6. How is Nathalie Provost speaking for gun control be any different than a 9-11 survivor speaking for the invasion of iraq.

    • It is amazing that one horrific act by a lunatic can enable so many to become emotionally imbalanced themselves. Where are those who decry the character of those who ran away, who are those who would have stood to protect those in need. We need character, integrity and honour in this society, which can not be legislated anymore than criminals can be stopped by paper rules. It is tiring to see the tragedy constantly being trotted out for political gain that reeks of the same level of bias as the shooter IE: blaming a collective group for their own failings.

  7. 1. Yes, we register cars, has that stopped them from being stolen and/or used in crime, I don't think so.
    2. If it wasn't for the gun registry criminal computer hackers wouldn't even know where to find an individuals guns.
    3. News flash – registration does lead to bans, it already has in this country as well as others.

    • 1. The argument that if a solution is not perfect it's no solution is false. Or are you arguing that we should stop registering vehicles?

      2. There is no evidence of this happening in Canada, ever. If you have some, I'd certainly like to hear about it. Until then, this is classified as "pulling crap out of your arse" and has about the same smell.

      3. Sorry, registration does NOT lead to bans. Bans can occur with or without legislation. Registration may make bans more enforceable, however, as you no doubt argue, just because guns are banned doesn't mean you can't get one. (It just means it'll cost you more)

      • 1. No the argument is quit using vehicles as a comparison to gun registration. Even criminals in Canada have their vehicle registered for the most part unlike guns where they get a free pass.

        2. Wrong again Twim. Between 1995 and 2003 there were 306 confirmed illegal breaches of national police databases ie: CPIC and the Canadian Firearms Registry. Breaches that supplied criminals with personal information gathered through firearms license applications. Links to these breaches have been established to gangs in Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver. Over 121 of these security penetrations are yet unsolved such as what information was stolen or which gun owners were targeted. BTW, check with the Ottawa Citizen newspaper regarding their online searchable database of the postal codes of gun owners.

        3. Registration doesn't lead to bans?? Tell that to all of the people who had guns confiscated and destroyed without compensation because they didn't meet the registration criteria.

  8. The car registry analogy is at best a poor one, and at worst dishonest. You don't have to register a car unless you use it on public roadways. An old Model T Ford or '57 Chev that you're restoring in your garage does not have to be registered until you decide to take it on the road. An old junker sitting in your backyard is not registered either. The gun registry went after ALL guns, including those not in use anymore. If someone is holding onto Dad's old .303 British from WWI, he was still expected to register the thing, or face criminal penalties. If he had Grandpa's old Edsel sitting in the garage not being used, he would not have to register that.

  9. It's not a false assumption at all. It's a conclusion based on the available evidence. While a civilian DID invade her classroom, round up all the women and start shooting, the government did not. Based on these facts, which are more than you have to work with, sir, she concluded that she has less to fear from the government gathering info about long gun owners than she does from long gun owners.

  10. Actually, guns are about the simplest way to kill a person. Not the simplest tool to do so, I'll agree, but they make the killing the simplest out of all of our tools.

    This is why I'm against generally against gun ownership. Not because I'm under some illusion that they'll halt crime or even slow down violent crime, but because of the escalation problem. With a gun, it's far too easy for an otherwise law-abiding citizen to take an irreversible action in the heat of the moment. Without a gun, that same heat of the moment may cause grevious injury, but the possibility of death is reduced.

    Anti-gun legislation does not stop guns from getting to the criminals, but it makes them far more expensive, so lessens the chance of any individual criminal having one. Being that the criminal almost always has the advantage of timing, even if I were in possession of a gun, odds are it'd to me little good against a similarly equipped criminal. Given all of that, I'd rather be robbed thrice than killed once.

    • Then you are also against the gun registry, because the gun registry as it sits is a mid to long term ownership solution.

      Oddly, many if not most of the gun control proponents are against gun ownership in entirety. But they continually play cat and mouse with the idea because they realize that total bans such as what occurred in Australia will never be tolerated.

      I'm not interested in even giving them a nibble, thanks. Tracking and throwing the book at people who criminally abuse firearms? Now I think we could be talking some common ground right there.

  11. Robert they are talking about long guns,rifles, not handguns that you are commenting on.
    They are two separate registration things.With handguns you have to belong to a gun club to have one.
    I believe you can't blame the mentally ill for guns problems as legally or not legally people can get them.You also can't
    blame the gun registries!A registration process for legal gun owners to own guns.That the government gets yearly fees for.To non criminal records adults.
    Not sure why the Federal government is passing a ban on long guns maybe it's people that are putting pressure for them to do this!Hopefully they GRANDFATHER the legal long guns that are now registered!
    This will be a problem for the police as they are against this ban.