Tears are hollow for the children, for the girls killed at the University de Montreal unless they are connected to action to reduce the chance of these senseless deaths happening again. The great thing about the tears after the murders of the young engineering students at the Universite de Montreal was this tragedy was followed by action. Under the leadership of Canada’s first female Minister of Justice, Kim Campbell, the Canadian Parliament came forward with the idea all weapons should be registered so the police had some idea of when they were likely to face an armed person. Is there a weapon in the house? Became a question they could answer. The new law also made many automatic weapons illegal and there was more attention paid to who was buying guns and how they were stored at home. According to the police, the new gun control laws worked.
When I was a federal public servant, I worked on the gun registry at the Department of Justice. It was one of the accomplishments that I have always been proud to say I was part of. Canada became a safer place and I received some comfort from the idea that those young women in Montreal did not die entirely in vain. Now we have a government that has destroyed the gun registry, except for the province of Quebec and a Liberal leadership hopeful, who thinks the gun registry didn’t work. How could it not work when about 60 people are killed each year in Canada with guns and 10,000 people are killed with guns each year among our southern neighbours. How could it not work when until recently Canadians made themselves famous around the world by seeking peaceful solutions to armed disputes? This was our tradition, not reaching for a gun.
Tears are hollow that turn their face away from the threat the possession of violent weapons are to all people but especially women and children. I turn the radio off. I turn the television off. I refuse to buy the newspapers that wring with these hollow tears. These are my small, sad acts of resistance to the soul poverty of our governments on both sides of the border.