Montreal police to receive another budget boost, community groups call on citizens to take action

“The SPVM really has to demonstrate how they spend those funds,” says Alain Babineau, part of Red Coalition, about the Montreal police's budget increase of $63 million, another historical rise, as it's set to be adopted Friday. Felisha Adam reports.

Montreal police are set to receive a budget increase of $63 million in 2023, which will be another consecutive increase since 2020.

“The city set a new record with a budget increase of $45 million this year, setting another new record of $63 million,” said Ted Rutland, associate professor at Concordia university.”

In total, the SPVM will have a total of $787 million and community groups are calling on Montrealers to take action and fight against its adoption set for Friday.

“At a time where taxes are going up, where we’re lacking funding for all kinds of initiatives, all kinds of community services that this administration is choosing repression and a very carceral approach to how we manage our city,” said Sandra Wesley, founding member of the Defund the Police Coalition.

Rutland says while unsurprising, he questions how the 8.7 per cent increase is justified.

“What they say is that there’s been an increase in certain kinds of crimes in Montreal,” he explained. “Certain kinds of crimes have increased everywhere in Canada, but we’re the only city in introducing this kind of budget increase.”

While some of the budget will go towards funding the SPVM’s intervention and mediation project, body cameras, and hiring more police officers, Alain Babineau with the Red Coalition says to justify the increase, accountability and transparency is needed.

“People need to ask questions as to how the money’s going to be spent in a more drilled down fashion than just simple, you know, about $16 million, about $10 million here, about 100. You know, like you have to drill down and also look at how the money is being spent right now,” Babineau said.

CityNews reached out to the city of Montreal for a statement on the reasoning behind the historic rise in the budget, but they have not responded at this time.

“What I think a lot of people are saying is that that $63 million could be invested in actual community crime prevention and violence prevention, which would create less work for the police and create a safer city,” said Rutland.

The Defund the Police Coalition is asking Montrealers to reach out to elected officials before December 16, the day that the budget will officially be adopted, to voice how they think the $63 million should be spent.

“To think about in their neighborhood and their community what they would like to see instead and propose that to the city and let them tell us that they’re choosing to not fund those projects and instead just one repression,” said Wesley.

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