Polytechnique shooting survivor objects to firearm coalition’s ‘disrespectful’ sales promotion

Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the École Polytechnique shooting in 1989 speaks during an event in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

A mass shooting survivor and spokeswoman for gun-control group PolySeSouvient says it is “incredibly disrespectful” for firearm rights advocates to invoke the group’s name in a merchandise sale discount code.

The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights’ online shop recently offered 10 per cent off clothing, mugs and other items to customers who used “POLY” as a promo code.

A gunman killed 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989.

Nathalie Provost, who was shot four times during the rampage, is now spokeswoman for PolySeSouvient, a group that includes graduates and students of the school who press for stricter gun laws.

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Provost said it is not surprising the coalition did the sales promotion so close to the Polytechnique anniversary, given it has dismissed the event as an anomaly that does not warrant changing gun laws.

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Tracey Wilson, a firearm rights coalition spokeswoman, said the promotion is not about the tragedy, but PolySeSouvient’s Twitter account, which has referred to coalition supporters as gun trolls.

“We want a reduction to crime, violence and gun smuggling — they want a reduction in legal gun ownership,” Wilson said.

Provost said that as the anniversary approaches, PolySeSouvient is particularly focused on the gun file as MPs study a government bill that would enshrine a definition of prohibited assault-style firearms, a ban for which the group has been fighting for 33 years.

The coalition for firearm rights and Conservative MPs have denounced the move as an attack on law-abiding, licensed gun owners.

The coalition said this week the government’s ultimate goal is to ban all civilian ownership of firearms in Canada.

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Asked about the coalition’s merchandise promotion Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored his government’s gun-control plans.

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“Unfortunately, we see the gun lobby working with the Conservative Party of Canada to spread misinformation, to use fear, to sow division by trying to mislead Canadians,” Trudeau said at an event in British Columbia.

“While we will always respect the rights of law-abiding hunters and farmers to use shotguns and rifles, there are certain guns that have no place in our communities, no place anywhere in Canada.”

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