FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is condemning the policy proposal yesterday from the Mark Sutcliffe mayoral campaign to build a new police station in the ByWard Market and increasing policing and surveillance as completely unjustified.
The proposal came after reports of a shooting in the Market and only two days after International Overdose Awareness Day. The full plan calls for a boost in spending to the already over bloated police budget, a “mini” police station in the Market, installing CCTV cameras, and hiring even more police officers.
“This isn’t what anyone who lives in the Market is actually asking for,” said Sam Hersh, a Board Member of Horizon Ottawa. “We’re wondering if Mark actually took the time to speak to any residents or service providers in the neighborhood like shelters or the many unhoused residents who interact with the police every day –what they want is more funding for services, not police”.
Sutcliffe is basing most of his proposal on the assumption that the police budget is “in decline”, when in fact it is one of the only services across the City of Ottawa that has consistently seen an increase. Since 2013, the police budget has gone up by around $100 million while the budgets for other city services,—like building more affordable housing, Ottawa Public Health, and funding for social services—pale in comparison.
“It’s interesting that Mark suddenly thinks Ottawa has all this money to throw around when it comes to the police, but very little to no money when it comes to making public transit more affordable,” said Hersh. “Heavy police presence is evident to all who visit the Market and that has still not led to better outcomes. It’s time to try something new.”
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