Plante pledges $110 million to tackle gun violence as Montreal police report 2 more homicides – Montreal

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Amid an increase in gun crime in Montreal, incumbent mayor Valérie Plante has pledged $110 million in funding toward public security if she gets reelected in the upcoming municipal election.

This comes as the city reported two more gun-related homicides over the weekend. A 19-year-old man died in hospital early Saturday from gunshot wounds and a 33-year-old man was found shot to death on the ground in Rivière-des-Prairies (RDP) in Montreal North mid-day on Sunday.

Police say this brings the number of homicides in the city to 23 so far this year.

Click to play video: 'Valérie Plante pledges $110 million to tackle gun violence in Montreal'

Valérie Plante pledges $110 million to tackle gun violence in Montreal

Valérie Plante pledges $110 million to tackle gun violence in Montreal

Fifty per cent of the city’s latest gun violence incidents are related to criminal gangs, Plante said on Saturday. She added that there have been over 100 crimes involving firearms in the city so far this year, comparing it to Toronto, the country’s longstanding gun violence capital, which is at 300.

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She said the $110 million budget — spent over the next four years — will go toward on the deployment of mediation and social intervention teams in all boroughs at all hours to deal with crisis situations involving vulnerable people. It will also go toward encouraging police to work at the same station for at least three years to improve the relationships officers have with the communities they patrol in, and to fund mixed patrols, meaning patrols that include officers and non-police staff.

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This comes after the Quebec government announced Friday that it would spend $90 million to reduce gun violence and gun trafficking by hiring more than 100 police officers and experts.

Plante has continuously said she does not support defunding the police.

The incumbent’s opponents Denis Coderre and Balarama Holness both criticized Plante’s plan.

READ MORE: ‘We’ve had enough’: Quebec puts forth $90M to tackle gun violence

“After months of inaction and refusal to increase the (police) workforce, Valérie Plante now promises to act in an electoral move,” said Abdelhaq Sari, who is in charge of Coderre’s public security file.

“Let us remember that even the fraternity of the police officers vehemently criticized the mayor for her improvisation.”

Coderre’s party told Global News it is proposing “sound management”: an increase in police workforce and a promise to not defund nor disarm the police.

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Sari added that Coderre will also make officers wear body cameras and he will create a seat at City Hall for the head of the Montreal police department.

Community organization Defund the SPVM has continuously denounced any increase in funding toward police forces and the lack of community funding — something that Holness supports.

Holness said both Plante and Coderre’s approach to the issue of gang violence is a tough law and order approach, which he says is the wrong strategy.

Read more:
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“The $110 million won’t address the root cause of violence — poverty, lack of community, health and social services, sports and leisure recreation infrastructure, youth career guidance, job training and equal opportunity employment,” Holness said. “We need to invest in communities and be proactive, not reactive.”

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Holness said his party recognizes that gang violence and the rise in firearm circulation needs to be addressed head one, but he says it should be done by special gang violence task forces that have intelligence on the issue.

He said if elected, his party would ask for the city to have state-like powers to tackle gun crime rather than defer to the federal government on the issue of gun legislation.

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“Plante is always waiting on the provincial or federal governments to act, and we are saying that as a metropolis, we would request the powers to tackle gun legislation directly,” Holness said.

Plante said she has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tighten the borders to better control the movement of illegal firearms into the country.

Concordia University professor and researcher Ted Rutland whose work focuses on racial politics of urban planning and policing said Plante’s plan “moves entirely in the wrong direction.”

“People are craving a different approach to public security, secured through investments in community services and programs,” Rutland said. “And this isn’t it.”

Montrealers head to the polls on Nov. 7, 2021.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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