For the next couple of weeks, the City of Montreal is asking for your opinion on how it should craft the 2021 budget. In the public consultation survey, residents can weigh in on a number of issues, from increasing property taxes to rebuilding the economy. But another question has received quite a bit of attention on social media: the potential of defunding the SPVM.
The addition of the question in the survey comes after months of demonstrations for racial justice and call from activities to reallocate police funds.
Even Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has said that she would be "open" to reviewing the SPVM's funding but hasn't outright supported defunding the police.
Under more scrutiny than ever before thanks to a damning report on how frequently the SPVM racially profiles Montrealers, demands to make body cameras mandatory and defund the police force have been fierce.
Responding to concerns on July 8, the SPVM initiated a new policy on how officers conduct stop-and-checks but didn't ban the practice despite troubling evidence of systemic racial discrimination.
According to police chief Sylvain Caron, the policy "establishes that an arrest must be based on observable facts and without discriminatory grounds, that is, without regard to real or perceived ethnocultural identity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status."
In a statement to MTL Blog, the City of Montreal didn't say whether or not the survey question is in direct response to recent demonstrations.
I welcome with great openness the much anticipated @OCPMontreal report on systemic racism and discrimination. My ad… https://t.co/QKe448Cves— Valérie Plante (@Valérie Plante)1592229143.0
"For the Montréal administration, it is essential that citizens, as well as organizations, be able to express themselves on budgetary issues that concern us all," a city official said.
It's unclear just how much influence public input through the survey will have on the creation of the budget.
The Commission sur les finances et l’administration is responsible for analyzing the survey results.
It will then forward its recommendations to the City of Montreal.
Le #SPVM présente sa Politique sur les interpellations policières. Elle vient établir qu’une interpellation doit êt… https://t.co/FL8Pk5PEJj— Police Montréal (@Police Montréal)1594218145.0
The online survey is available until August 23.
Montrealers can also submit comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.