MONTREAL -- Just before heading out on vacation, former and possibly future Montreal mayor Denis Coderre said that if elected, he would not defund the city's police force.

“I'm against defunding disarming like Projet Montreal,” Coderre said while announcing a new slate of candidates for St-Leonard, Parc-Extension and St-Michel. “They can say whatever they want, they have in-camera meetings and decide stuff, they're voting against a motion on body cameras.”

Coderre said he would make body cameras mandatory for the SPVM. Coderre's opponent, current mayor Valerie Plante, was not available for comment on Sunday but has said in the past that she wants the city's police to begin wearing body cameras next year. Her administration was initially cold to the idea of body cameras, following a pilot project in 2016 and 2017 in which several dozen officers were given the equipment, but later reversed course, with Plante saying the city is working with the provincial government on a province-wide body camera initiative. 

Body cameras for police are also supported by Movement Montreal candidate Balarama Holness, but unlike Coderre, he said he would divert money from the police to support social services.

“Right now, Denis Coderre wants better funding for police and we think that's going in the wrong direction,” he said. “Body cameras are not a solution. Solutions are better housing, more support for infrastructure and green spaces and at Movement Montreal, we provide that solution.”

Among Coderre's candidates introduced on Sunday are former Surete du Quebec officer Suzanne de Larochellier. Coderre added that while he would not take funds away from police, he would instruct them to focus more on community policing, but did not offer specifics on what that would entail.