Habs goalie Carey Price says he knows about the 1989 Polytechnique massacre, despite his team stating he didn’t after he’d expressed his support for a gun lobby group on social media, days before the anniversary of the tragic event.
The controversy started last Saturday, when Price took to Instagram to share a photo of him holding a rifle, as a way to criticize Bill C-21. If passed, the bill would make it harder to legally access handguns, as well as clarify the definition of prohibited assault-style firearms.
"I love my family, I love my country and I care for my neighbour. I am not a criminal or a threat to society," the caption reads. "What [Justin Trudeau] is trying to do is unjust. I support the [Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights] to keep my hunting tools. Thank you for listening to my opinion."
The Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCFR) recently came under fire for using the promo code “POLY” to offer customers a discount on items from its online shop.
The Polytechnique massacre led to the murders of 14 female engineering students who were shot at their Montreal college by a gunman with an anti-feminist agenda.
After Price’s post was strongly criticized online, the Habs apologized for it.
France Margaret Bélanger, the president of Groupe CH, the company that owns the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, told Radio-Canada that Price wasn’t aware of the massacre’s upcoming anniversary, nor the CCFR’s promo code.
On Tuesday, Price again took to Instagram to stress that he was aware of this dark moment in Canadian history, and that he would never intentionally cause pain to those impacted by gun violence.
“Despite a previous statement released, I did in fact know about the tragedy,” he wrote in his Stories. “I have been a member of the MTL community for 15 years and I understand the weight this holds within the community.”
He went on to say that he stood by his opinion he shared about Bill-21 but acknowledged that by amplifying conversation around guns this week, he apologizes to those most impacted by the event who he might have upset.
Online, many people expressed disbelief on the Habs' original statement, if Price could not have known about the massacre, or why he would support the CCFR.
Others felt people were going too hard on Price.
PolySeSouvient, a gun control group that was formed after the Polytechnique massacre, also took to Twitter to emphasize that Price’s initial comments were fuelled by disinformation.