Thank you to everyone who has tirelessly advocated for putting an end to systemic racism and police violence. Anti-Black racism is real and pervasive in our city, province, and country. I stand in solidarity with the Torontonians who have been marching in our streets, and all those taking a stand against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and violence.
Since April, nine Black, Indigenous or racialized people in Canada have died in interactions with police. We know that these death are not isolated incidents, but part of a pattern of systemic Black and Indigenous racism in our policing and in our society. I believe that we need to take a real, hard look at our institutions, including policing and our justice systems. We cannot continue to let anti-Black racism, and discrimination against other marginalized groups, continue unchecked.
There is a terrible imbalance between police budgets and spending on programs that address mental illness, racism, poverty, and barriers to opportunity. By cutting and underfunding youth programming, mental health supports, and anti-poverty programs, government after government has turned social issues into policing issues. We must put an end to this.
On Monday, June 22nd, the Ontario NDP laid out its commitments for overhauling policing and police oversight, tackling systemic racism, and making mental health crisis response safer, especially for Black, Indigenous and racialized people.
Here’s a breakdown of critical first steps we need to take as a community and as Legislators to put an end to systemic racism and police violence:
- Overhaul police oversight, including compelling police to participate in investigations into police actions, and allowing unpaid suspensions
- Demilitarize police forces by diverting spending on military-grade hardware, including tear gas and assault rifles, into community services.
- End carding and destroy data collected through this unconstitutional practice
- Transfer responsibility to, and investing in, alternative first responders to respond to mental health, addictions, homelessness and school discipline issues
- Give elected representatives the support and power to determine how policing budgets are spent
- Invest heavily in programs and supports that address the social and economic factors that influence people’s health
We cannot move forward without centering community-driven, community-led solutions. Read our full plan to End Police Violence and Invest in BIPOC lives here.
Black lives matter.