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Montreal Massacre victim employed as engineer

For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists." Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.

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When Marc Lepine yelled "You're a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists," threatening to kill a room of female engineering students, Nathalie Provost tried to stop him. She pleaded that she and her classmates were not feminists, just students taking engineering. Lepine then killed 14 women at the school and shot 11 others, one of whom was Provost. Today, Provost works as an engineer and, in this CBC Television report, tells journalist Francine Pelletier how the massacre affected her.

After the shooting Provost spoke on national television from her hospital bed, "I ask every woman in the world who wants to be an engineer to keep this idea in their mind." Since then female enrolment at l'École Polytechnique has risen seven per cent.
• Marc Lepine shot Natalie Provost in the foot and leg, and a bullet grazed her temple. None of the bullets struck her bones.

• On Nov. 23, 1990, police released a three-page note found in Marc Lepine's pocket the night of the massacre. In it he blamed feminists for his personal failures and listed prominent women he targeted. He also wrote that the military rejected him because of his anti-social behaviour and that his life was now ruined.

• In December 2000, University of Toronto professor Charles Rackoff emailed controversial comments about Montreal Massacre memorials to staff and faculty. He wrote, "The point is to use the death of these people as an excuse to promote the feminist/extreme left-wing agenda ... (Even the KKK, as far as I know, has never suggested that all black people should wear white ribbons to apologize for the collective sins of their race.)"

• The school refused to censure Rackoff because of the university's policy of free speech.

• Flags on federal government buildings were flown at half-mast in remembrance of the massacre for the first time on Dec. 6, 2001. The federal government designated it a national day of remembrance in 1990.
Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Dec. 6, 1994
Guest: Nathalie Provost
Reporter: Francine Pelletier
Duration: 5:48

Last updated: December 8, 2014

Page consulted on December 8, 2014

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