NDP backs Black coalition’s calls for implementing police reform

Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, Faisal Hassan, Dr. Jill Andrew, Rima Berns-McGown and Kevin Yarde.

Responding to a coalition of more than a dozen Black organizations  which  showed up at Queen’s Park on Monday, the Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP and NDP Black Caucus are backing their call for the government to finally implement recommendations from reports on police reform that have been” collecting dust since they were completed,” says a news release from the NDP.

“For decades, governments have commissioned reports, studies and committees in response to community calls for action to address hurtful and deadly anti-Black racism,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“And time and time again, these reports have been completed only to have one premier after another put them on a shelf to collect dust, never implementing their recommendations. We need to implement them now and actually start tackling systemic racism in policing.”

According to the release, the NDP ” is echoing Black organizations in calling for all recommendations from the following three reports to be implemented immediately:

– The Report of the Independent Street Checks Review (2018)

– The Police and Community Engagement Review-PACER (2014)

– The Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review (2017)

 The Ontario NDP and NDP Black Caucus have also been calling for the recommendations of  Roots of Youth Violence report (2008) to be implemented, the release pointed out.

 “If the government really listened to community, they would hear the call to finally act,” said Laura Mae Lindo, Ontario NDP Anti-Racism critic, and chair of the Ontario NDP Black Caucus.

 “The Black, Indigenous and racialized people’s voices that went into writing these reports deserve to be heard, and their recommendations must be acted on. We must stop the cycle of government after government doing nothing more than talking. It’s time for action.”

The Ontario NDP Caucus has released its Commitment to Action, called End Police Violence. Invest in Black, Indigenous and Racialized People’s Lives. It commits to:

 – Overhaul police oversight ;

– End carding and destroy all data collected through this unconstitutional practice ;

– Invest in alternative first responders ;

– Rather than the police, alternative first responders should respond to mental health, addictions, homelessness and school discipline calls ;

– Demilitarize our police forces. Too much is spent on things like tear gas, which has been banned in war zones by the Chemical Weapons Convention since 1997;

– Give elected representatives the help and power to set their policing budgets; amd

– Invest heavily in programs and supports that improve quality of life by considering and addressing the social determinants of health (social and economic factors that influence people’s health) and use an anti-racist, anti-oppression framework.

 The  members of the Ontario NDP Black Caucus are Laura Mae  Lindo (Kitchener Centre), Jill Andrew (Toronto—St. Paul’s), Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches—East York), Faisal Hassan (York—South Weston), and Kevin Yarde (Brampton North).