2020-2022 Defund the Police Progress of 20 Activist Groups in Montreal

In 2020, there was an uprise in the Montreal community from over 20 groups. The purpose was to half the police budget, but after 3 years, they continued to overspend, get an increased budget, and increase violence. Bringing awareness to the Defund project in Montreal, these groups joining together showed across a larger scale of place and people in Montreal that various police incidents occur the same. While different statistics occur among various groups, in Montreal, the hatred, injustice and violence is something that has been actively been protested for a long time. The Defund the Project in North America is active from people, but they are left without very much positive response. With the Defund the Police project, these communities and the Montreal people are really hoping for a better year in 2023. It’s really important that the Defund the Police project in Montreal is successful, and that all people of Montreal are heard.

Defund the Police Montreal
Photo: Iman Kassam, CTV News Montreal Videojournalist

The Defund the Police project is important because it emphasizes the importance of removing smaller and larger stagnant social situations. The people it has affected, such as black and indigenous communities, continue to minoritize people. Some of the Defund the Police advocate groups are Montreal-Nord Hoodstock, and Black Lives Matter Montreal. At every level in society, police have so much power and a lot of times it doesn’t help, it often makes it worse. Alternative justice solutions start by reducing their budget. The groups together suggested that reducing the budget and violence can be achieved by instead investing in Montreal communities and people the community services needed. The intervention between people and the police is vital to its’ change at first, but the resolutions need to be resourced to the community services so that Montreal communities are at peace.

This call uprose from the SPVM ( Montreal Police Service ) starting a policy on police checks. The interactions that occur on the streets don’t uphold what should be police conduct; it was only in 2020 that police officers had any SPVM policy directing the way people should be treated in those instances. One group, Hoodstock, was made after Fredy Villanueva, a young boy, was shot for no reason. He was an immigrant whos’ family came to Canada from Villanueva because of land conflict that prevented their lives. In November, Concordia and Hoodstock worked together to create a project fighting sexual violence. With Indigenous people targeted, especially with mostly young Indigenous adults in the system, these instances make up some of the crucial situations that put people in impossible situations while living. In order for people to be safe, they have to stop taking from the lives of people by being in a position of so much extra power. Affecting the lives of youth, young adults, and civilians continues to show the need for immediate changes from police. 

Debating whether or not defunding police can happen in Montreal is still up for question without any change has happened throughout the last 3 years. In January 2022, when they went over by $51 million, they were given almost double the amount. Rather than social change, there was no social justice being heard in the way the budget was amended. They also continue to find systemic racism while White communities in Montreal and people in Canada don’t face this racial profiling and discrimination, let alone the violence and hatred. With such a bad reform in the last few years, it is vital to Montreal to defund the police. 

In the image above, it’s a protest in 2021, again to reduce the police budget and reinvest in people. The reporter, who also from CTV, who shared this image, states that the coalition showed up at a protest that delayed the 2021 budget. With the coalition still suggesting that the police force cannot radically change from within, they show that they are unwilling to collaborate with the situation. They continue to delay this defunding and refunding process, which only creates more room for injustice, and stagnates the process of social independence and safety. With the radical change from within needing to occur, the denial of the impact from incidence to incidence only lets them deny the situation of social prejudice and injustice. They are a political body that defaces humanity when they are the ones with power over our heads, not protecting us, instead judging us based off things like faces.

Defunding is the solution to this community and individualized brutality advocated by these groups since 2020. By directly taking action after the police checks, it should have been necessary to allow the public to have some sort of win these last few years for protection after feeling like they had only continued to see loss. There is not enough that reprimands police officers when they go against police conduct, and with the results of more violence, and more overspending, Montreal keeps choosing police over their people. It shows that the situation hasn’t changed for these groups from this cause during this time. 2023 really hopes to be a better year, after the struggle of the last few years for Montreal.

***

Sources:

CBC – Montreal activists lay out blueprint for defunding police

Montreal Gazette – Hoodstock stands with the people of Montreal North

CVT News – Despite calls to defund police, Montreal sets aside more for SPVM in 2021 than it did last year

CVT News – New mural remembers Fredy Villanueva, killed by a Montreal police officer

CVT News – ‘I think it fits the needs of Montrealers’: City presents 2021 budget plan

 

 

About Camille Brack 4 Articles
Presently working as a freelance arts and community events writer in Montréal. As an Artist, Activist, and Sociological Policy Worker, the news and issues focused on are important events to Montréal's culture.