Survivors of 2006 Dawson College shooting urge voters not to pick Conservatives
Survivors and families of victims of the 2006 Dawson College shooting in Montreal are marking the 15th anniversary of the tragedy on Monday by urging Canadians to think twice before voting for the Conservatives in the Sept. 20 federal election.
"We need you to not vote Conservative," said Kathlene Dixon, whose daughter, Meaghan Hennegan, was shot twice in the attack and survived. "We need you to vote Liberal, or if you live in Quebec, to vote Liberal or Bloc Quebecois," she said in a news release.
The release says the Dawson killer was the legal owner of a handgun and a Beretta CX4 Storm with a legal 10-bullet magazine. The weapons were used to take the life of 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa and injure 16 others at the Montreal junior college.
The Beretta the Dawson shooter used was among 1,500 makes of semi-automatic firearms that were banned following a May 1, 2020, Liberal cabinet order. Handguns, however, remain legal.
The Conservative party platform initially included a section about repealing the ban. That section, however, has been amended since the election document was released. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has said his party would maintain the Liberal cabinet order and that "all firearms that are currently banned will remain banned."
Hennegan said in the release that O'Toole has boasted about receiving positive reviews from gun-rights activists about his policies.
Hayder Kadhim, who was shot at Dawson College in 2006, said a vote for the Conservatives is a vote for the gun lobby.
"If you care about your safety, about the safety of future generations, if you don't want the gun lobby hijacking our laws like they do in the United States, then please don't vote for the party that is beholden to the gun lobby," Kadhim said.
On the eve of the Dawson shooting anniversary, O'Toole told the CBC about the gun used by the killer: "I believe it was an illegally obtained firearm."
But on Monday, the leader clarified his statement, saying the firearms used at the Dawson mass shooting were "transported and stored in an illegal manner."
The Liberals promise that if re-elected, they would force the owners of firearms that were banned in 2020 to sell them to the government or make them inoperative.
O'Toole has said his party would simplify the country's gun-classification system and strengthen penalties for gun violations.
-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2021.