27 years ago, a shooter entered a Montreal STEM school lecture hall with a loaded gun and held a class at gunpoint. He ordered the class to divide itself into men and women. They didn’t comply until he shot the ceiling.
Once separated, he turned his gun on the women. 14 women were murdered and another 20 injured before the shooter would turn the gun on himself. We would dub this the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre.
As with all atrocities, promises were made to never forget–certainly many Canadian feminists, myself included, observe the day of mourning. Yet it would seem that many in Alberta’s political landscape have a selective memory indeed, given that mere days ago an entire crowd worked itself into a frenzy to speak of our female Premier, “Lock her up!”
It certainly puts Alberta’s conservative leadership in an awkward position. Their previous big tent success has always worked only with the cooperation of their snarling, reactionary dickhead vote, in which virulent misogynists have had their home for decades. Now they are tasked with keeping this vote whilst condemning violence spun in the same cloth that occurred on this day, 27 years ago.
Of course this isn’t the first time Brian Jean, leader of Alberta’s right-wing Wildrose Party, has had to contain this feral portion of the conservative voting bloc. He has gone on record to condemn them multiple times, yet they don’t seem particularly convinced by his ineffectual bleating. Maybe it’s because he’ll turn around in 3 months to start courting their vote again, but only before issuing another disingenuous apology about how wrong violence against women is. You’re not fooling your drooling bloodhounds, Jean, and neither are you fooling me.
How fundamentally perverse it is that the authoritarian jackboots can make their proclamations that the Premier ought to be jailed, simply because they dislike her, mere days before an occasion which reminds us all of the cost of patriarchal entitlement. If that’s a “joke,” you’ll have to explain it to me.