WiTOpoli Weekly: December 5, 2014

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • Tomorrow is the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This year, December 6th marks the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam hosts a commemoration today from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Member’s Lounge at City Hall. We’ve also compiled a list of other memorials being held around the city as well as information on a postcard campaign from the Coalition for Gun Control, which was founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre.
  • Justice Minister Peter MacKay was criticized for remarks he made earlier this week, claiming that the motivation for the Montreal Massacre was unknown. Both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair were swift to point out that the shooting was clearly an act of gendered violence and needs to be recognized as such.
  • Twenty-five city councillors signed a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne, urging her to challenge the constitutionality of Canada’s newly drafted prostitution laws (Bill C-36) at the Ontario Court of Appeals. The signatories expressed concern over the bill’s “danger to some of the most vulnerable women we represent”. The letter will be presented in council today marking the National Day for Remembrance.
  • Mayor John Tory was sworn in this week, unveiling his new Executive Committee and appointing Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong as Deputy Mayor. At the top of Tory’s agenda is his plan to relieve traffic congestion. Be sure to check out Neville Park’s Cheat Sheet on how to keep up with council meetings and upcoming dates to follow.
  • Kathryn Borel came forward this week, identifying herself as one of the original sources in the Toronto Star’s Jian Ghomeshi investigation. Borel reveals how her workplace harassment was repeatedly mishandled by the CBC and how it affected her career.
  • A grand jury declined to indict an NYC police officer this week after the death of an unarmed black man named Eric Garner, despite having video evidence of the officer choking Garner to death. Protesters have been gathering across the U.S., echoing many of sentiments that continue to be expressed in Ferguson following last week’s failed indictment in the Michael Brown case.
  • As a part of the launch of Project 97 this week, Toronto MPP Cheri DiNovo shared her own experience with sexual assault. The Project 97 site was launched by Rogers media in order order to promote “a year-long conversation about sexual assault, abuse and harassment”.
  • The Canadian Labour Congress released a study this week documenting the impact of intimate partner violence in the workplace. The stats reveal how violence affects employees’ work performance and their ability to maintain their job. Ontario is the only province where intimate partner violence is recognized as a workplace safety issue.
  • Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore questioned why more women weren’t pursuing political office when their voices are so badly needed. We encourage you to peruse these A+ responses from #cdnpoli voices such as Equal Voice, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, Jordan Owens, Jenn Jeffreys and Vass Bednar.

 

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Honouring the lives of women – observing December 6th

Nearly twenty-five years have passed since a man with a legally owned assault rifle killed 14 young women and injured 13 others at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. The families of the victims of this tragic event have said repeatedly that they consider our gun laws a memorial to the young women who lost their lives that day.

However, in recent years our gun control laws have been steadily eroded – last year the government ended the registration of rifles and shotguns, including the powerful Ruger Mini 14 used in the Montreal Massacre and destroyed the records of more than 5 million registered guns. Now the Government has tabled legislation that will further relax controls on handguns and assault weapons.

The Coalition for Gun Control, founded in the wake of the Polytechnique tragedy, has worked closely with the families as well as women’s organizations, public health professionals, police, labor, community organizations and others to strengthen our gun control laws. They need our help to send a message to Prime Minister Harper, Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, and Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau that Canadians want strong gun laws and expect them to make public safety a priority in spite of the loud voices of the well-resourced gun lobby.

You can use the image below to send a postcard to Prime Minister Harper, to the Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, and to Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau. It tells them that we want to see them prioritize public safety and focus on prevention, as well as implement measures to reduce the risk that dangerous individuals gain access to guns. To order postcards, you can also email coalitionforguncontrol@gmail.com – a donation of $25 per 100 postcards would be appreciated to help defray the production costs, but is not required.

Screen shot 2014-11-30 at 6.19.26 PMScreen shot 2014-11-30 at 6.27.59 PM

 Supporters of gun control in Canada have also founded Generation Action to engage young people and to #DemandControl (you can use this hashtag). Please invite those in your network to follow the campaign on (TwitterInstagramFacebook) and spread the word about this postcard campaign. Make your voice heard.

 

The following is a partial list of observances taking place in the Toronto area surrounding December 6th.

 Women Won’t Forget – Partnered with University of Toronto Philosopher’s Walk

Saturday December 6th, 6:00pm

416-762-8798, womenwontforget@gmail.com

 University of Toronto

Mississauga campus – Tuesday December 2, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Scarborough campus – Wednesday December 3, 2:00 – 1:00 pm

 Women’s College Hospital

Friday, December 5, 2014. Noon – 1 p.m.

416-323-6400, info@wchospital.ca

http://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/events/dec-6-womens-college-hospital-remembers

 Lanark County Interval House – Hosted by D.A.R.E

December 6, 2014 from 2-3pm

613-257-3469, info@lcih.com

http://lcih.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Event-poster-page-001.jpg

 Centre for Human Rights, York University

Thursday, December 4, 2014, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Outside the Vari Hall Building, York University Keele campus

416-736-5682, rights@yorku.ca

 Ryerson Dec. 6 Memorial

Friday, December 5, 2014 12:00pm-1:30pm

Contact: Ann Whiteside