Gun Control Vital to Ending Violence

December 6, 2010, 4:05 PM EST

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To Dr. Wendy Cukier, president of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Control, the link between proper gun control measures and ending violence against women is absolute.

"It's critical to understand that saying you're concerned about violence against women and not supporting mechanisms to control firearms puts you in a very inconsistent position," said Cukier in her address to CAW Council on December 4.

"Firearms are a major way that women are killed or terrorized by their intimate partners in their own homes. Every major organization committed to ending violence against women supports gun control."

Cukier said that the issue of gun control is not one of rural versus urban as the Conservative Party and the firearm lobby would like Canadians to believe. "Every single poll shows that women in rural communities support gun control. So those politicians who claim to be representing rural interests are representing some rural interests, but ignoring others -the interests of rural women," said Cukier. She said that where there is access to a gun, it's more likely that an assault will become a fatality.

Cukier thanked the CAW for its major lobby and outreach effort, which she credited with changing the votes of several NDP Members of Parliament on Bill C-391. The Private Members Bill would have eliminated the national long gun registry and was defeated by a narrow margin of 153-151 in a September 22 vote in the House of Commons.

Cukier said that the union provided the moral support and moral outrage that kept the momentum during the more difficult days of the campaign to save the registry. Numerous delegates got up to tell moving and often times very difficult personal stories, supporting the need for gun control.

Cukier said that the Montreal Massacre on December 6, 1989 was a catalyst for her to become politically involved and jumpstarted her career as an anti-violence and gun control activist.

Cukier said the event was as devastating to Canadians as the assassination of JFK was to Americans. "It was inconceivable that something like that would happen in Canada," said Cukier.

Cukier has spent the last 20 years working to reduce injury and death due to firearms in Canada. She was recognized as one of 25 transformational Canadians by the Globe and Mail, has been awarded the Governor General Meritorious Service Cross and was named a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA.  The CAW has been a member organization of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Control since its formation. 

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