Dimension remembers the day of the Montreal Massacre 15 years ago, December 6, 1989. The news flashes that told, incomprehensibly at first, of a mass murder at l’École Polytechnique. And then, the details: 14 young women gunned down in their classrooms, the gunman dead by his own hand. The images of roses in the snow, public and private grief, and coffins in churches. The horror and rage experienced by so many, as we realized that this was misogyny, practised in the public and elite space of a university, against women who were seen by the murderer to have violated male space, and thus to have predicated his lack of success in academia and elsewhere. In other words, it was their fault, and, by his analysis, it is our (feminists’) fault. Fourteen women lost their lives at the hands of a murderous misogynist who hated women. He said so. Who hated women being in the engineering faculty of a university. He said so. He called these women feminist. He separated the men from the women and then shot the women. He carried a “hit list” of other women to be killed, all of whom were prominent, many of whom were feminist, all of whom were successful in traditionally male arenas. Misogyny doesn’t get much clearer than that.
Poverty is the women’s biggest challenge, and even their tough resourcefulness cannot overcome the impossibilities this condition creates in their lives. Yet the women, many of whom are racialized immigrants, have insistent dreams of better and more independent lives. Managing rising levels of stress and ill health, Toronto’s low-income women try to make the impossible possible.
There appears to be a grotesque hypocrisy between the government trying to de-list progressive feminist, environmental and animal rights groups while permitting so-called charities that have a right-wing, patriarchal and economistic ideology to engage in highly political activities. It’s time for the Canada Revenue Agency to keep up with the times and to provide a progressive, balanced, and fair voice in its implementation of Canada’s charity laws.
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