The Real Facts Behind Defunding The Police
Apparently, some Councillors really don't like us telling you how they vote at City Hall!
Last week, we outlined which Councillors voted for and against a motion to defund police which passed by 9-5.
To be clear, we didn't even take a position on whether the motion was a good idea or not, we simply reported on the wording and intent of the motion and on the results of the vote.
Yet, several Councillors took to social media to make personal attacks against our organization, our staff, and our volunteers.
On Facebook, Councillor Sutherland claimed he knew all the details of the CPS budget, said that saying the motion defunded police was idiotic, threw out nasty personal attacks against us, and stated that we're spreading "misinformation" and "disinformation".
Councillor Keating made similar claims in a blog post on his website, which was also shared by Mayor Nenshi, Councillors Gondek, Farrell, and Carra, and others.
The Councillors' arguments rest on their claim that they voted to explore so-called "different delivery models", not to defund Police.
The idea of these different delivery models is to have other community groups and service organizations respond to issues in the community instead of sending the Police.
To be clear, Common Sense Calgary isn't even necessarily opposed to trying out this concept - maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't - but at this point, there isn't enough information to know either way.
But the Councillors' claims that the funding would come from elsewhere, not from the Police, don't stack up to even rudimentary analysis.
The motion was not to fund these new types of responses from some new source of money.
In fact, a motion by Councillor Farkas to do exactly that - funding this program by taking money from the Fiscal Stabilization Reserve - was voted down by Council.
The motion that was approved by Council was explicitly clear that it would fund this program by taking funding away from the Police budget: $10 million in 2021 and $10 million in 2022 - $20 million overall.
This was confirmed when, after the vote, Police announced that they will have to cut 60 positions and cut training to meet these budget cuts.
Having seen this news, Councillor Sutherland is now "concerned".
He says that there will now be cuts to the Police but that that's not what he voted for, and he'll be arguing against it during budget deliberations.
In other words, after a week of attacking us for spreading disinformation, he's realized that exactly what we said would happen when he voted for the motion is now happening.
An apology would be nice, but somehow we don't think we'll be getting one.
Unfortunately, this is something we see time and time again at City Hall.
Perhaps the Councillors were spellbound by the promises of City Administration, who like to say whatever it takes to get Councillors to vote for their pet projects.
Or perhaps the Councillors thought they could get away with saying one thing and doing another.
We'll never know.
But what we do know is that the motion they voted for was a move to defund the Police, they denied it at the time, and now that the public has noticed, they're claiming that was never what they intended to do.
We'll continue to report what happens at City Hall, and we'll let you decide who is spreading the misinformation and disinformation.