CAW Blasts Government on Dismantling Gun Registry, Rallies Members to Demand Action on Gendered Violence and Inequality

November 16, 2009, 3:20 PM EST

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Twenty days before the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, the CAW is denouncing the government's attempt to abolish the national gun registry.

"It is ironic that on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the massacre at L'École Polytechnique, we will once again be caught up in the same fight over gun control," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"It's devastating that the Conservative government is trying to dismantle the national gun registry, with the help of members of the NDP and Liberal parties. This is the same entity activists, women in particular, fought to have established in the aftermath of the Montreal Massacre. The fact that our government is now trying to destroy it is a national disgrace and should not be taken lightly by anyone."

Over the next 20 days, CAW members across the country will be taking part in the campaign to demand government action on violence against women. The campaign, organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, will see Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office flooded with emails and post cards each day, demanding action on a different issue which would help end gendered violence and improve the lives of women. The issues range from access to affordable housing, increasing funding for women's shelters and creating publicly funded childcare to improving public pensions and access to good paying jobs.

CAW members and members of the public will be able to send daily messages to the Prime Minister from the union's website.

"In our workplaces across the country, there are women whose lives are marred by violence in their personal and work lives," said CAW Director of Women's Programs Julie White.  "In some places, our members have lost dear co-workers and friends to domestic violence."

"Twenty years after the Montreal Massacre, we must recognize that violence will not end just because we demand that it must, but will continue until women everywhere are accorded the respect, liberty, political, social and economic equality that we deserve as 50 per cent of the world's population," said White. "That violence and gross inequality continues to this day is an affront to all of humanity, men and women alike.

Our goal is to remind the government that women need more then just promises to end violence against women."

The CAW is the country's largest private sector union and has been at the forefront of developing union services for women, such as the women's advocate program now in place at 140 workplaces and local unions across the country. The women's advocate is a referral agent for women who are being sexually harassed, experiencing violence or may be in other danger.

The CAW represents 225,000 members in 17 sectors across the country.

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