In what can only be described as positive public relations spin - or just propaganda in this case - the Ontario Police's official Twitter account referred to anti-vaccine, pro-disease protestors as "Freedom Supporters." I'm sorry what? Anti-vaccine protestors have shown themselves to be the least supportive of freedom. This shouldn't come as a shock to … Continue reading Ottawa Police refer to anti-vax protestors as “freedom supporters”
The Vancouver Police Department released a series of recruitment ads on March 1st. The VPD's ad elevated one of the worst parts of policing - the high militarization of the VPD - in a blatant pro-police propaganda campaign.
The central issue with invoking the Emergency Act is twofold: First, it is a step too far in consolidating state power against dissenting citizens. Second, police already had the tools they needed to deal with the occupation in Ottawa but chose not to. If the police had exhausted all their options first (which are routinely used against Indigenous and climate change protestors) then Trudeau may have a case. This did not happen.
The Emergencies Act sets a dangerous precedent- as does Bill 1 in Alberta, and we should not be encouraging their precedent-setting use. It is clear that the systems and leaders have not been listening. Legislation that allows the system to reproduce the same old issues is not going to bring our salvation.
One of the responsibilities of the police that could be eliminated is the role of social work and responding to mental health crises. As we've seen far too often in Canada and across the world, the police are untrained and ill-equipped in social work. The success of these examples in Edmonton and Hamilton point toward the need for Canada to move away from authoritarian police models toward more liberatory, restorative solutions.
The Edmonton city council voted to cut the 2022 Edmonton Police Service (EPS) budget by $10.9 million last Wednesday. EPS will still be allocated $385 million next year. I guess more armoured vehicles are out of the question next year? Defunding the police is the correct path for Canada to take, and Edmonton is leading the way.
An all-to-familiar juxtaposition has arisen with the recent arrests of Indigenous land defenders and journalists by the RCMP. On the one hand, we have politicians like Justin Trudeau and John Horgan insisting on the importance of climate change and that we must act now. On the other, these same politicians buy or approve new pipelines, grant fossil fuel subsidies, and arrest protestors.
Our political leaders have a deficient understanding of reconciliation. What they want to reconcile are the contradictory interests between Capital and Indigenous self-determination. Ultimately, our political leaders, embodied by the Canadian state, side with Capital. There is a much more radical, transformative understanding of reconciliation available.
Protests have erupted throughout Canada and the USA in response to all-to-familiar accounts of police brutality. One would think that maybe the police might start paying attention? Wrong. They'll just punch you in the face.
The range of issues that could be removed from police duties to non-authoritarian and non-militarized (in some cases) programs is as vast as our imagination. Think of drug decriminalization, sex work, minor bylaw enforcement, restorative rather than punitive justice, implementing means of direct democracy and more community involvement, and anything else that strikes at the root of crime.