defund the police

Here's the list of city councillors who support defunding the Toronto Police

Toronto city councillors Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam have submitted a motion proposing to defund the Toronto Police Service in order to reallocate funds to community resources, and many residents of the city are eager to know which members of city council plan to support it. 

The motion — which was originally submitted last week and proposed defunding the police service by 10 per cent — has since been amended to recommend defunding the TPS budget ($1.22 billion) by a minimum of 10 per cent

The expanded motion also recommends non-policing alternatives to 911 dispatch for non-criminal service calls, stopping the use of deadly force and chemical/military-style weapons against unarmed civilians, taking the budget appeal powers away from the TPS board and setting up a new community accountability table.

"A Work in Progress: We've been having hundreds of phone calls and listening. The motion has been revised to no longer restrict the request to 10%, focus on alternatives to policing, ending use of deadly force, accountability & more: Conversations continue," wrote Matlow on Twitter Monday morning when announcing the changes.

The proposal comes amid protests and outrage from people all over the world following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, as well as Regis Korchinski-Paquet's mysterious death after an interaction with police in Toronto.

These events and countless others have caused many to take a stand against anti-Black racism and demand concrete change, and this motion is just one of many ways governments are responding. 

It's difficult to know whether or not the motion actually has a chance of passing at this point considering Toronto has a mayor and a city council that have been resistant to any reallocation of the police budget in the past — as Matlow told me in an interview last week. 

So far, only a handful of councillors have openly and publicly stated their support for the motion in addition to Matlow and Wong-Tam: Mike Layton (University-Rosedale), Gord Perks (Parkdale-High Park) and Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York).

"The violence and police actions we are seeing against our Black and Indigenous brothers and sisters must end. We can't let this keep happening. Now is the time for action. We must work to defund the police while we reinvent public safety that will make it safer for everyone," wrote Layton on Twitter this past weekend, indicating his support for the recommendation. 

Spokespeople for both Cressy and Perks also confirmed that they plan to support the motion.

"I will be supporting this motion," Perks said in an emailed statement. "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."

On the other hand, councillors that have not yet made a comment on the motion or the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole, or who actively oppose the motion, include James Pasternak (York Centre), Frances Nunziata (York South-Weston), Michael Ford (Etobicoke North), Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt), Mark Grimes (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Stephen Holyday (Etobicoke Centre), Denzil Minnan-Wong (Don Valley East), Paul Ainslie (Scarborough-Guildwood), Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest) and Cinthia Lai (Scarborough North).

Mayor John Tory has also said he plans to vote against the motion, and is instead in favour of various policing reforms and changes, such as mandating body cameras, collecting race-based statistics and community policing. 

Others have meanwhile shown interest in the idea or published anti-racism statements in support of some kind of change, but have not committed to supporting it in practice.

Those councillors include Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence), Brad Bradford (Beaches-East York), Ana Bailão (Davenport),  Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Anthony Perruzza (Humber River-Black Creek), Paul Ainslie (Scarborough-Guildwood), Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), John Filion (Willowdale) and Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth).

The motion will be up for debate at the next council meeting beginning June 29, and it will require 17 votes to wave deferral to a committee and then 14 votes to pass.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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