Movie night on Parliament Hill

polytechniqueWhile many films, along with entertainment in general, have been known to desensitize people to violence, the Bloc Quebecois hope to use the medium to sensitize Members of Parliament from all parties to the magnitude of tragedies like the massacre of 14 women by Marc Lepine at Ä–cole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.

This event, now known as the Montreal Massacre, was what got the ball rolling on talk of stricter gun restrictions in Canada which eventually led to the creation of the Federal Gun Registry.  The Conservative government wants to eliminate the registry and currently have two bills under review that would see it scrapped completely.  They are hoping that some Liberal and NDP MPs will side with them.

In order to turn the tide and stress the importance of gun control, the Bloc Quebecois will screen Denis Villeneuve’s film Polytechnique on Parliament Hill tomorrow night.  They have invited MPs from all parties to attend.  The movie is a fictional account of the massacre told through the eyes of two students who survived.  In it, Lepine is never referred to by name and actor Maxim Gaudette is listed as playing simply “The Killer” in the credits.

The film did cause controversy when it was released in February with some arguing it shouldn’t be made at all, others claiming that it was not done the right way or for the right reasons and some seeing it as a necessary movie and a force for social change.  Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe clearly sees it the third way and is giving it a chance to be just that with the screening.

NDP leader Jack Layton will attend the screening, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has a “prior engagement” and won’t be there and Stephen Harper’s office won’t say whether he will be there or not, claiming that revealing the Prime Minister’s schedule would be a “security risk.”

One person who will be in attendance is Suzanne Laplante-Edward.  She lost her daughter Anne-Marie Edward in the rampage and was quite vocal pushing for gun regulation.  She will speak to MPs before the film at the invitation of Gilles Duceppe.  She will not, however, watch the movie.

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