Millions more in security funding pledged by Montreal mayor in re-election bid
MONTREAL -- Montreal mayoral candidate Valerie Plante made a campaign-defining pledge Saturday to spend $110 million on public security if re-elected.
The announcement came after a 19-year-old died due to gunshot wounds sustained during a particularly violent night in Montreal.
Plante's party, Projet Montreal, wrote in a news release the plan aims to "preserve the safe character" of the city.
The $110 million would be used to "fight against armed violence, criminal groups, and ensure the safety of Montreal neighborhoods," read a release outlining the plan.
The party would also encourage officers to remain working at neighbourhood stations for a minimum of three years to "promote proximity to the communities they serve," and to collaborate with community organizations.
Plante also promised $15 million over four years to deploy mediation and intervention teams accross the city in a continuation of the Équipe mobile de médiation et d’intervention sociale initiative, which was first piloted in August.
The plan also calls for a reserve fund of $15 million to "respond quickly to any urgent need" in public security.
"We know that safety is one of the main concerns of the population," said Plante. "We are the only team to have a precise and credible game plan in the matter."
It didn't take long for other parties to criticize that game plan, with Ensemble Montreal Public Security Spokesperson Abdelhaq Sari vowing his party would "do everything it can to bring safety back to Montreal" if elected.
“Time and time again, the Plante administration has demonstrated its lack of leadership, all the more blatantly in matters of public safety," read a statement from Sari. "Let us remember that even the Police Brotherhood vehemently criticized the mayor."
In August, an internal letter sent to members by brotherhood president Yves Francoeur read the Plante administration had a "poor understanding of public safety and has only supported police officers since it became an election issue."
For those keeping score, Mayor Plante has recently scaled up funding for police officers and community groups amid a spike in gun violence in the city.
Also in August, the city unveiled $5.5 million dollars in funding for the city's police force to hire 42 additional officers and civilian aides.
In September, Montreal carved $5 million more for community groups working to prevent violence.
"We must combat gun violence on all fronts," Plante said at the time. "Our administration deeply believes that the fight against organized crime and crime prevention must go hand in hand; that one cannot go without the other."