When the lines between reality and The Onion blur, you know your nation is in trouble.
It doesn’t seem possible but 22 years have passed since the December evening in 1989, when we stood, a group of cynical, world-weary reporters shocked into silence, waiting in the wet snow outside the Ecole Polytechnique for an announcement that would change our world forever.
Then came the announcement: “There are a dozen dead and they are all students.”
The dead were also, except for the killer himself, all women. This we already knew from the survivors who had escaped the building. And there were 14, not 12. There was no room for doubt. A heavily armed killer had come to this place, hunting women. Carefully, deliberately, with malice aforethought. And he had succeeded, surely, beyond the wildest scope of his own malignant dreams.
They would not have to see Stephen Harper dismantle the long-gun registry, the one tangible memorial to their deaths that meant something vital to the living. They wouldn’t know the impotent rage felt by those who worked so hard for rational gun-control laws in this country, seeing a portion of all that work undone on a politician’s whim.
They would not experience the frequent despair of the endless struggle to halt the plague of violence against women, or our joy over the occasional victory.
Canada’s conservative government said they would kill the gun registry. Now they have a majority, they are about to do it.