The Montreal Massacre

Montreal Massacre Memorial Plaque
Memorial plaque containing names of victims

The relevance of the term ‘femicide’ in the Canadian context was driven home on December 6, 1989, when Mark Lepine entered École Polytechnique at the Université of Montréal with the intent to kill women, blaming them for his failure to gain entrance to the engineering program. Lepine separated students by gender and yelled, "You're all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” before firing at the women.

Following this targeted act of lethal violence against women, 14 women were dead and another 10 were injured before Lepine turned the gun on himself. The political nature of Lepine’s attack was largely overlooked by the media. In the aftermath of the killing, many people described Lepine’s actions as the work of a madman, disconnecting the violence from his hateful and misogynistic attitudes toward women. In short, it was not acknowledged that he targeted his victims because they were women, consistent with the definition of femicide.

Every year on December 6, Canadians come together to honour the victims of what is referred to as the ‘Montreal Massacre’ and other femicide victims in the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.