FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE: Horizon Ottawa Concerned with Motion Vying to Stifle Democracy at Ottawa Police Services Board
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is concerned with a motion being brought forward by members of the Ottawa Police Services Board that they say severely limits the democratic participation of residents. The notice of motion being brought forward at Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting is seeking to make it against the Board’s procedural bylaws to ask Members of the Board or the Police any questions as well as limit even further the deadline for when residents can register to become delegates at monthly board meetings. The motion will be debated at the Board’s February meeting.
“This motion is a breach of local democracy; if residents cannot ask questions how can they expect to get any answers?” Said Sam Hersh, a Board member of Horizon Ottawa. “Why does there continue to be a double standard in accountability when it comes to police?”
This is not the first time residents have complained about the inaccessibility of Board meetings. As calls for police reform have continued to grow since the June 2020 police murder of George Floyd, more delgates have joined meetings, peaking at a November 2020 budget vote that saw over 100 people in attendance. At that meeting, delegates complained of a lack of accessibility supports as well as several instances when some delegates had been muted.
“We have heard Board Chair Diane Deans repeat over and over again about how she wants to “rebuild trust” with the community. Well, how is a motion like this supposed to do that?” said Hersh. “We are demanding that all Members of the Ottawa Police Services Board reject this motion and take a closer look at the considerations and implications it will have on community members who already face extreme barriers to local participation.”
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