Fight against gun violence: Montreal will not have a blank check from Quebec

Fight against gun violence: Montreal will not have a blank check from Quebec

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An expert committee formed at the SPVM assesses the need for police resources and additional money to fight armed violence.

Ministry of Public Security (MSP) of Quebec wants some accountability before awarding millions of additional dollars to the City of Montreal to help fight gun violence.

Senior MSP officials have been in contact with their counterparts in the City of Montreal since Tuesday, after two shooting murders were committed 30 minutes apart in broad daylight.

Montreal's needs for police resources and additional money are assessed by a committee of experts formed urgently by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).

MSP officials are said to have seriously questioned the administration of Mayor Valérie Plante in the last few hours about the expenses made with amounts granted by the MSP.

Sources confided Thursday evening Radio-Canada that, although the impression is not generalized in the department, some civil servants in Quebec believe that the money granted to the Plante administration to counter armed violence has not been used wisely.

Quebecor and La Press, who first reported the news, even mentioned that the money would have been used for other municipal services than the Montreal police.

This information comes only a few days after that the Montreal Police Brotherhood (FPPM) publicly criticized the Plante administration for thinning the ranks of the SPVM, rather than adding police officers to fight gun violence.

MSP officials would also like to analyze the figures put forward by the Plante administration on hiring at the SPVM and those of the Fraternité, which has put forward a net loss of 72 agents in 10 months.

Late in the evening Thursday, the office of the mayor had to react in writing to reassure the citizens on the use of the funds granted to the city for its police service.

All sums received from the MSP dedicated to supporting the work of police officers are used and are essential, declared Catherine Cadotte, press officer for Mayor Valérie Plante.

“Our administration has never defunded the police, on the contrary. Our administration has also increased the SPVM's budget each year, which has served to set up teams dedicated to the fight against organized crime, the seizure of weapons, and to have the greatest number of staff. police since 2012.”

— The office of the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante

Despite this declaration, sources familiar with the fight against armed violence say that the metropolis will not receive a blank check.

Even if Quebec will certainly send additional funds for the SPVM, the Plante administration will nevertheless have to justify each of its additional requests.

The metropolis is facing an increase in armed violence and reiterates the need for the support of all of its partners, in particular the Government of Quebec, to deal with it, added Valérie Plante's press officer.

Sources maintain that the situation between the City of Montreal and the MSP is not deadlocked, so that an announcement concerning a new budget envelope could take place in the short term.

However, the launch of Sunday's election campaign is a challenge. The Legault government would like to move forward as quickly as possible to avoid being accused of being electoralist.

The issue of armed violence has become a priority in the point where the Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault withdrew Thursday from a partisan event in which she was to participate in Gaspé in order to remain engaged in the talks between her department and the City of Montreal.

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