My comments regarding the conduct of the police and our police budget

Thank you for your emails, calls and messages regarding the tragic death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the conduct of the police and our police budget.

The SIU investigation is underway.  I will be following the outcomes closely. Her family deserves answers, as do we all.

There are many who question the SIU process and demand reform.

In 2016, I, along with colleagues Councillor Layton and Councillor Wong-Tam, brought a motion to City Council calling for a review of the manner in which police services are provided within the City of Toronto with an anti-black racism and anti-racism lens, and for a review of the mandate, procedures and outcomes of the Special Investigations Unit with respect to the treatment of cases that involve victims from racialized communities.

At the same time, Gerry McNeilly, head of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director was advising a review of the Ontario Police Act for these same reasons,  as well as additional matters province wide.

An independent review led by Justice Tulloch followed in 2017 and resulted in 129 recommendations on ways to transform police oversight.

Unfortunately, while efforts were made to amend the Police Act to enact the bulk of the recommendations, once  elected, Doug Ford proposed legislation (COPS Act) which imposed time-limits on investigations, and a roll-back of efforts to promote independent investigations into public complaints. 

Anti-Black racism is real and pervasive in our City. As a society we must do, and demand, better. 

In the City of Toronto, that means our funding priorities must be centred on a robust system of social supports and services, including ongoing investments in Black and marginalized communities. No budgetary demand of the TPS should ever stand in the way of that system.

Finally, we must take action to invest our resources to address these inequities head-on. The City works to apply an equity lens on every budget decision it makes, which is a good first step, but more must be done and it starts with properly funding City services.