Black Lives Matter march in Calgary, June 3, 2020. Photo credit: Jon Yee
Our coalition is seeking a 30 percent reduction of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) budget, reallocated to rebuild, invest and transform our communities. This budget reduction is but one step in improving equity in our great city. Further to this reduction, we are requisition that members of City Council reallocate these funds to support further support, protection and programs that improve lives for Black, Indigenous, other racialized communities and 2SLGBTQ+ people as they seek to engage in a system that has been historically hostile toward them.
Why are we calling for a 30% reduction to the CPS budget?
Here are the facts:
CPS’s most recent yearly officer contact statistical report for 2018 states that approximately 30% of calls involve vulnerable persons (i.e. individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, etc.).
- Municipal funding for Calgary Police Services increased in 13 of the last 14 years.
- In September 2020, the CPS confirmed that it supports "reallocating resources from [its] existing budget to work with community partners to develop alternative ways to respond to Calgarians in crisis".
So the CPS promised Calgarians to reallocate its resources to develop better ways to respond to vulnerable Calgarians. The CPS’ own data shows that 30% of their calls are to vulnerable Calgarians. It follows that the CPS must reduce its budget by 30% and that these funds should be invested in our communities. The CPS and the Defund2Fund campaign agree on three things: (1) the CPS budget must not increase forever; (2) the CPS should not be immune from budget scrutiny; and, (3) there are better ways to help vulnerable Calgarians, who are involved in 30% of police calls.
What do we want to fund?
One option is the establishment of a Community Investment Board, comprised of members with lived experience of systemic racism, to decide how and where the aforementioned infrastructure should exist to create real, impactful change — such as affordable housing; cultural centres, particularly for Black and Indigenous Peoples; expansion of low income supports for food and utilities for our most vulnerable citizens; affordable and accessible addictions and mental health services.
Our allies at Black Lives Matter have created a more comprehensive list of municipal funding opportunities that will support us all in this fight for equity. By re-directing police spending to these programs, the city can better reduce the root causes of crimes that are created by our current system. These opportunities include:
- Creation of low-income housing, both single and family occupancy, built using universal design principles, housing for formerly incarcerated people finishing sentences in all of Calgary’s jails.
- Expansion of 211 to include neighbourhood-based crisis intervention and de-escalation trainings; mobile dispatch of these services available 24/7.
- Expand the LRT lines to all Calgary area municipalities and expand LRT lines so they are accessible citywide.
- Expansion of bike and pedestrian infrastructure in the City.
- Expansion of late-night Calgary Transit service.
- Upgrade of recreation, athletic centers and library centres for better access to affordable services.
- Retrofit multi-stall all-gender washrooms and changing facilities at every single one.
- Creation of free facilities for Calgarians living with addictions, including municipally-run safe injection site infrastructure and more non-coercive drug and alcohol treatment facilities.
- Increased funding to the Crisis Diversion Team with no involvement from anyone with any relationship to policing; reduce waiting time to less than five minutes city-wide.
- Establishment of municipal iteration of AHS’s mobile response team, working collaboratively with the Crisis Diversion Team.
The benefits of these programs and facilities for all Calgarians are self-evident, and can easily be funded by monies diverted from the CPS. While this is simply the beginning of improving equity in our great city, this is what initial defunding looks like.
We Need Your Help!
You can help effect change for safer communities in Calgary.
1. Sign the petition
2. Share this post
Share this post on social media with your friends.