Toronto350 Statement on Defunding the Police

Toronto350 stands against the murder and brutalization of Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, and honours the memory of all Black, Indigenous, racialized, and other marginalized/targeted victims of police violence across Turtle Island. We unequivocally support the demands of Black Lives Matter-Canada (BLM-Canada) to defund, demilitarize, disarm and dismantle the police.

Policing in what is now Canada has always existed in order to steal Indigenous land, control marginalized people and protect capital at the expense of targeted communities. From corralling Indigenous nations onto reserves to the ongoing surveillance, harassment and murder of Black, Indigenous and racialized people, the police have and continue to play a central role in maintaining white-supremist violence and ongoing genocide. 

In a current example of the continually expanding use of police to enforce corporate interests, the government of Alberta has just passed the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, which empowers police to arrest protesters and land defenders without a warrant; including Indigenous people on their own territories, in a wide range of public and private spaces.

Policing is the violent arm of a system of dominance that destroys lives through racist violence, even as it is used to destroy our collective future through environmental destruction. Black, Indigenous and racialized people are impacted first and hardest; from police violence to climate catastrophe.

We want to build a resilient and just future for all. Funding for policing belongs to communities, and must be reinvested in communities. We propose a world where alternatives to policing are adopted to support and uplift people; especially Black, Indigenous, racialized, impoverished and other targeted communities.

Abolishing the police does not mean forgetting about community safety – in fact, it is the beginning of a future where true community safety is possible – safety for all people. To us, a Just Recovery from the pandemic and the economic crisis, and a Just Transition to a fossil-fuel-free world, mean building a future where emergency services are community-based and trauma-informed. Where poverty, addiction, HIV and sex work are decriminalized. And where we invest resources to support healthy, thriving and resilient communities.

We want to express our disappointment in Toronto City Council’s vote against cutting the police budget by 10% on July 29, 2020.

Toronto350 will be making a contribution to the Afro-Indigenous Rising Collective in support of their ongoing occupation of Nathan Phillips Square and their demands to defund the police. We are committed to ongoing internal education on anti-racism, and ongoing supportive actions are priorities.