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Laval mayor dissatisfied with Quebec government aid on gun violence

"Too little, too late" was how Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer described Quebec's response to gun violence.

Boyer made the strong criticisms in front of the media and Public Security Minister François Bonnardel, who had just announced the investment of $20 million to help the municipality.

The sum is intended to help Laval add 20 resources to its police force to combat the increase in gun violence.

The number of homicides is on the rise in Laval, and Boyer pleaded at a news conference that his city's situation was comparable to that of Montreal in proportion to its population.

In 2022, the ratio of murders per 100,000 inhabitants was 2.73 in Laval and 2.32 in Montreal, the mayor pointed out.

Boyer, therefore, believes that Quebec should have paid around $60 million to be on par with Montreal.

"So to announce a year later a sum that is three times less is too little, too late and, above all, unfair to our citizens. The life of a Laval resident is worth no less than that of a Montrealer," said the mayor.

In his view, it is the municipality that will have to make up the shortfall to pursue objectives that have been scaled back, he said, due to a lack of resources.

"I know how a political party works. I know that you are not the only ones making decisions," he told Bonnardel and his colleague Christopher Skeete, the minister responsible for the Laval region, who was also present.

"I am well aware that this public appearance will not please you, and you should know that I take no pleasure in making it... But if I decide to do so today, it's because, for a year now, my team and I have been trying to correct the injustice in private."

In a news release, Bonnardel pointed out that the aid to the municipality will enable "concrete solutions to be deployed so that the City of Laval succeeds in countering the organized crime that exists on its territory and restoring its citizens' sense of security."

The news release states that the $20 million is in addition to the more than $4.6 million over four years paid to the city to develop urban security and crime prevention plans.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 25, 2023. Top Stories

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