Last fall, John Abbott College opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art Science and Technologies Building. It was a major accomplishment. This LEED-certified structure was not only constructed on time and on budget, but it was accomplished as a result of a major private-sector fundraising campaign.
Now, the West Island CEGEP is about to make another bold and brilliant move, by naming the building after a former student, Anne-Marie Edward.
Edward was one of the 14 victims of the Polytechnique massacre in December 1989. She was an engineering student at that time, 21 years old, a Pierrefonds resident with her whole life and career ahead of her. Abbott administrators are showing a great deal of class by honouring her memory in this way.
For years to come, students at the college will add her name to the list of others associated with the buildings where they will attend classes — Hertzberg, Casgrain and, now Edward.
Her name deserves to be remembered. It stands as a reminder of how quickly all our lives can change if we fail to work together to protect what is most precious and impose tough restrictions on gun access. Anne-Marie’s mother, Suzanne Laplante-Edward, has worked tirelessly in the last 20 years to force this country’s politicians to create and enforce effective gun-control legislation. She has had a few victories in this effort, but a few significant defeats. That does not make her goal any less valuable, however. One day, hopefully, automatic weapons will be banned.
In a meantime, I remember a statement Laplante-Edward made to me in a conversation in the early 1990s. She said she looked forward to the time when society looks back at mass shooting tragedies and we remember the names of the victims, not the shooter. It appears the administrators at John Abbott wish for the same thing.
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