On December 6, 1989, Heidi Rathjen, a fourth-year student in civil engineering at the École polytechnique de Montréal, witnessed the massacre of fourteen of her female fellow students. Strongly affected by this carnage and realizing how easy it was for an individual to obtain assault weapons, she created and directed a coalition to combat violence and, especially, to impose a better control of firearms.
The fight she led for six years with determination and passion has given rise to thought about firearms. This led to the passing of bill C-68 on the control of firearms by the Canadian House of Commons and the Senate on 22 November 1995.
The Minister of Justice, Paul Bégin, presenting the 1996 Prix de la justice medal to Heidi Rathjen.