Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

December 05, 2011 13:50 ET

Long-Gun Registry is Critical to Ending Violence Against Women

OFL Statement for December 6, 2011 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2011) - December 6, 2011 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and marks the 22nd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, in which 14 women were singled out and murdered at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal because they were women. This senseless act of violence against women shocked our nation and became the catalyst for collective action to end violence against women.

The impetus for the long-gun registry emerged in response to the events of December 6, 1989, and it has been successful in reducing gun-related spousal homicides by 50 percent since its implementation. However, despite such progressive measures to reduce violence against women, every year more than 25,000 women report being the target of domestic assault, while many more incidents go unreported. When guns are used in domestic violence, many people, including children, are victimized and the likelihood of a woman's death increases by 12 times. Today, one in three Canadian women killed by their husbands is shot and long-guns continue to be used in over 70 percent of firearm-related spousal homicides.

Against the advice of every credible expert, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is using his majority to push through legislation to dismantle the long-gun registry through Bill C-19: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (Ending the Long-gun Registry Act). The legislation will also mandate that all data that has been collected on long-gun ownership be destroyed.

"Harper's record is one of weakening women's rights in every arena and silencing the very organizations women rely on to provide services and advocate for equality. His attacks on reproductive rights, pay equity, child care and other human rights are a scandalous indictment of the Harper government," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "If the Conservative are successful in dismantling the long-gun registry, it will cost women their lives."

The OFL is calling on the Parliament of Canada to commit to ending violence against women and girls by protecting the long-gun registry and expanding gun control across Canada. The OFL is also calling on the Government of Ontario to join the National Assembly of Québec in taking a strong stance against Bill C-19 and resolving to maintain a provincial registry and data in the event that the Bill is passed.

"Women who live with a gun in their home are more likely to be shot and killed. Even if the guns are not directly fired on women they are often used as a tool of intimidation in rape, physical or psychological violence," said OFL Secretary-Treasurer Marie Kelly. "It is crucial that every Ontarian put to pressure their provincial and federal Members of Parliament to defend the long-gun registry and preserve every measure that can help ensure the safety of Canadians."

December 6 is an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy of the Montréal Massacre and to reach out to all families of female victims whose lives have been taken away by acts of violence. We must use the act of remembering to fuel the collaborative efforts across our country. As Canadians, we must be firm and principled in our commitment to the fair, equitable and respectful treatment of all people and speak out against the intolerable acts of violence against women and girls.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 Ontario unions and over one million members.

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Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    President
    416-209-0066 (cell)

    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Joel Duff
    Communications Director
    416-707-0349 (cell) *FRENCH/ENGLISH*