June 3, 2013 7:00 am
Updated: December 6, 2014 1:52 pm

Canada ‘going backwards’ on gun control, École Polytechnique survivor says


MONTREAL – Heidi Rathjen was in the building the day Marc Lepine shot up a classroom at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique, killing 14 women and injuring many others.

In the years since, Rathjen has dedicated herself to ensuring that doesn’t happen again.

“For all of the families who witnessed the shooting, they have already lost everything: They lost a member of their families; their families are destroyed, and they’re suffered the rest of their lives because of it,” she said.

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“But the reason they’re still fighting, like myself and others, is because we can’t sit by and let the government do nothing. We want to do everything we can to minimize the chances that this happens to somebody else.”

A secret memo indicating the Public Safety Minister was warned that Ottawa’s policies are endangering public safety doesn’t surprise her.

The Cz858 is among guns her group has repeatedly, vocally advocated banning, or at least more tightly restricting.

Read more about the secret memo here. 

“They’ve ignored military-style assault weapons coming on the market that are non-restricted – not even registered – and completely turned their backs on public safety in order to please the gun lobby,” she said.

“One of these days somebody might get their hands on one of these guns and use it in a huge massacre. And the Conservative government will be held accountable, because now they can change it.

“They’ve been formally told by the RCMP that these are dangerous weapons and they should be prohibited. And yet they’ve done nothing.”

It’s easy to compare Canada favourably to the United States, Rathjen says, “but we’re not immune.”

“Canada is the only country that is going backwards: While the U.S. is trying to fix loopholes regarding background checks, Canada has created new ones.”

© 2013 Shaw Media

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