Advertisement

‘Let hate go,’ says the mother of Montreal Massacre shooter Marc Lepine

WATCH ABOVE: It has been 26 years since the École Polytechnique shooting.

WHITEHORSE – Twenty-six years after her son murdered 14 women in Montreal, Monique Lepine still doesn’t know why.

“Maybe he felt unloved, left aside,” she said of her son Marc Lepine, while speaking this week at the 12 Days To End Violence Against Women campaign in Whitehorse.

During her 90-minute, key-note talk at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, the 78-year-old woman reflected in a soft-and-calm voice on the abuse she and her children had suffered at the hands of her former husband.

READ MORE: Some 25 years on, soul-searching after Polytechnique shooting

“If you didn’t solve your emotional problems when it was the time, eventually you’re growing, you’re an adult, but emotionally, you’re still at the age of your wound.”

On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lepine, 25, armed with a 223-calibre Sturm-Ruger rifle, separated the men from the women in a classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique.

Story continues below advertisement

He spoke about his hatred for feminists and went on a shooting rampage, killing 14 women and wounding nine others.

He then shot himself.

Lepine relived that day, repeating for the crowd a story about how she prayed when she heard about the shootings, only to find out the gunman was her son.

“My son killed himself, but I was the one left with all the consequences,” she said.

READ MORE: Blog: Should we still commemorate December 6? Pas de question

Seven years after the massacre, her 29-year-old daughter killed herself in a drug overdose, she said, noting her daughter suffered guilt about not having the chance to reconcile with her brother.

Lepine said the following day she realized she had lost what she had dedicated her life to: her children.

“I felt like I was dying of pain and sadness,” she said.

READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: Remembering École Polytechnique

Lepine said she reflected for 17 years after the shooting on the abuse she and her children had suffered at the hands of her former husband.

Story continues below advertisement

She said her spouse never paid child support, and never contacted her, even after learning his son was responsible for the Montreal massacre.

Paramedics and crowds are pictured outside the  Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
Paramedics and crowds are pictured outside the Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. The Canadian Press
Police enter the  Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
Police enter the Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
A victim is wheeled away from the University of Montreal after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
A victim is wheeled away from the University of Montreal after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
A woman is overwhelmed as she is escorted from the University of Montreal in Montreal, Que., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 1989, after a gunman opened fire in a packed classroom killing 14 women before turning the gun on himself.
A woman is overwhelmed as she is escorted from the University of Montreal in Montreal, Que., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 1989, after a gunman opened fire in a packed classroom killing 14 women before turning the gun on himself. Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press
Paramedics and crowds are pictured outside the  Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
Paramedics and crowds are pictured outside the Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
Police enter the  Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
Police enter the Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
Story continues below advertisement
Police enter the  Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
Police enter the Ecole Polytechnique after gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the school in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
Three unidentified women hug each other after laying flowers in front of the Polytechnical School at the University of Montreal. Fourteen women were killed after a gunman, Marc Lepine, went on a shooting spree.
Three unidentified women hug each other after laying flowers in front of the Polytechnical School at the University of Montreal. Fourteen women were killed after a gunman, Marc Lepine, went on a shooting spree. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
Grieving relatives are escorted from the University of Montreal, Que., on December 7, 1989, after learning that their loved one was among the 14 women victims of a gunman that went on a killing spree on December 6, 1989.
Grieving relatives are escorted from the University of Montreal, Que., on December 7, 1989, after learning that their loved one was among the 14 women victims of a gunman that went on a killing spree on December 6, 1989. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press
A woman weeps at a vigil in Montreal in this December 1989 file photo, after the December 6th slaying of 14 women at the University of Montreal by a gunman.
A woman weeps at a vigil in Montreal in this December 1989 file photo, after the December 6th slaying of 14 women at the University of Montreal by a gunman. Allen MacInnis/The Canadian Press
Montreal Mayor Jean Dore wipes a tear at a news conference in Montreal, Que., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 1989. The mayor's babysitter was one of the victims of the mass slaying at the University of Montreal on December 6, 1989.
Montreal Mayor Jean Dore wipes a tear at a news conference in Montreal, Que., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 1989. The mayor's babysitter was one of the victims of the mass slaying at the University of Montreal on December 6, 1989. Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press
Caskets of the women slain at University of Montreal  are on display at Notre  Dame Basilica   as services are held for nine of the fourteen muredered students Monday Dec. 11, 1989.
Caskets of the women slain at University of Montreal are on display at Notre Dame Basilica as services are held for nine of the fourteen muredered students Monday Dec. 11, 1989. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Lepine has previously said that her son was beaten severely by his father.

She said she was just starting to feel better when a deadly shooting struck Montreal’s Dawson College in 2006 and the pain returned.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Vigil on Mount Royal marks 25th anniversary of Polytechnique shooting

Lepine said she decided to speak up, appearing on TVA and writing a book, “To Live.”

“It took me a long time to make peace with myself because I thought I was the one responsible because everybody was saying that,” she said.

She has since met and cried with a family of one of her son’s victims.

“We were both in pain. We both had lost somebody we loved,” she said.

She underscored the importance of talking about emotions.

READ MORE: Remembering the women who died at École Polytechnique

“All this hate we keep inside, if we don’t let it go, or ask forgiveness of the people we hurt, it will build up and lead to violent behaviour.”

When asked how to help men who commit violent acts against women, Lepine said she didn’t know.

“I don’t have all the answers,” she said, noting that men can have more trouble talking about their emotions.