A woman who is believed to have been killed by her ex-partner in a Montérégie home is being mourned and remembered as an "outstanding woman, appreciated by all," and a loyal colleague and friend to many.
Lisette Corbeil, 56, was found dead Wednesday in a home in Contrecoeur, about 60 km northeast of Montreal on Wednesday. Her ex-partner, David Joly, 49, was also found dead. Provincial police believe Joly killed Corbeil, then took his own life.
Officers from the regional Richelieu Saint-Laurent police service discovered the bodies in a home on Marie-Victorin road around 11 a.m.
In the wake of the incident, an outpouring of support for Corbeil and her loved ones ensued, as well as calls denouncing domestic violence and urging immediate action.
Corbeil was well known in the political and business circles in the Montreal area. Her death leaves "a great void" and her "presence, smile and immense generosity will be missed on a daily basis," according to the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de la Rive-Sud, where she worked as director of strategic projects.
A Facebook post on the chamber's page says: "We cannot repeat it enough, immediate actions are needed to prevent other women from falling victim to such tragedies."
Bloc Québécois MP Xavier Barsalou Duval, who represents the Contrecoeur area, said he was shocked to learn of the incident, while Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called the killing "appalling" and urged victims of domestic violence to contact the provincial toll-free crisis line, SOS Violence Conjugale.
A collective fight
Corbeil is the 12th woman to be killed in Quebec this year.
A day after her death, Premier François Legault offered his condolences and was asked what more he could do to end violence against women. He said the responsibility falls to everyone.
"I think we are putting in place all the measures we can but, of course, I want to tell the population: If you are aware of something, please denounce [it]."
Last year, the province doubled the funding for combating domestic violence to $180 million, including $2.5 million in emergency funding for shelters during the pandemic.
Still, Claudine Thibaudeau, social worker and clinic supervisor for SOS Violence Conjugale, says demand for its services has gone up 30 per cent in the past year, driven in part by some women's situations made worse during the pandemic.
Last year, the service received 41,000 calls, a number significantly higher than previous years. And demand isn't waning.
"If it keeps up like this, we're going to have 60,000 demands for this, so it's huge right now," Thibaudeau said.
In an interview with CBC Friday, Thibaudeau echoed Legault's sentiments, saying a change to social norms that allow these frequent situations to occur in the community takes a collective effort from the masses.
"If we're all pushing the same way in the same direction, I think we can change things, and we can work together to make intimate partner violence something that's much less common," she said, adding that these acts are a product of a larger social problem.
Thibaudeau says support is expected to be expanded to allow SOS Violence chat lines to stay open 24/7, similar to their phones lines, as well as create more initiatives targeted toward youths to teach them how to recognize violence at a young age.
"We need to talk about this among ourselves, and with our kids, so we can end it."
'Perturbed mental state'
Meanwhile, police say Joly was known to them, having expressed suicidal thoughts and threatening to kill himself last September.
According to filings from the Sorel-Tracey courthouse, Joly had his hunting weapons confiscated in September by Richelieu-Saint-Laurent police, who cited a "perturbed mental state" as their reason for doing so.
Two months later, Joly resigned from his title of president of the Contrecoeur hunting and fishing association.
Police deemed his level of suicide risk to be "moderate, following an intervention by the crisis centre."
Several hearings were postponed according to the court documents, citing that Joly was in a psychiatric hospital.
In January of this year, a judge ruled Joly could not regain possession of his weapons before Aug. 31, 2021.
Police have not released the cause of death of either party, but autopsies were scheduled for this week.
If you're in immediate danger, call 911. If you need help, SOS violence conjugale is a province-wide toll-free crisis line, available 24/7, TTY compatible
You can reach them at 1-800-363-9010 by phone, or via text at 438-601-1211 You can also look for information on SOS's new website.
If you are in crisis or know someone who is, here is where to get help:
In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)