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Council of Toronto votes against cutting 2021 police budget, votes for mayor’s reform plan

Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on June 30, 2020 with No Comments

City council on Monday rejected a move to ask the Toronto police to cut its budget in 2021 by at least 10 per cent, following weeks of protests calling on them to defund the police.

Instead, council voted in favour of a series of motions backed by Mayor John Tory, which propose reforms that don’t include immediate defunding of the police.

These reforms include developing alternative ways for police to respond to calls that don’t involve weapons, a call for the police services board to provide council with a line-by-line breakdown of the budget and ask that council “commit to eradicating racial profiling in policing.”

One of Tory’s motions approved by council will actually see the police budget increase by $5 million in 2021 — if the request for body-worn cameras for all officers is fully implemented.

“I’m very frustrated, but beyond that I am so incredibly embarrassed that this is our city council,” Sandy Hudson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto told the Star following the vote. Hudson’s group had asked for at least 50 per cent to be cut from the budget.

She said it was “disrespectful” that councillors ignored studies that body-worn cameras make interactions worse, that they commended the police amid protests and that they promised to do things they’ve promised before.

“The level of discourse is just so shallow,” said Hudson.

Ahead of the vote, Coun. Josh Matlow urged his colleagues to support his motion to ask the police to cut at least 10 per cent from its budget next year.

“What I’m asking you to do is show courage,” he said.

“So we’re prepared to use an arbitrary number to protect homeowners from property taxes, but we’re not prepared to do it when the issue is anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism and the effects of policing on racialized Torontonians.”

Ahead of the vote, Tory said his proposals were meant to be a “comprehensive” series of reforms that if approved would “set in motion a process that should bring about the kind of change at the pace of change that is needed in response to the people who have marched in the street and have been in touch with us in our offices and so on.”


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