Update: see previous post – November 10, 2015 Toronto Grapples with a Billion Dollar 2016 Budget for Police
Only 23% approve of putting more tax dollars into policing, while 53% want more spent on social services, says a survey commissioned by the African Canadian Legal Clinic.
More than half of Ontarians surveyed in a recent poll want their tax dollars to go toward social services, including initiatives to tackle poverty, while less than a quarter want that money put toward more policing.
A random survey of 2,506 Ontario residents conducted by polling firm Mainstreet Research found 53 per cent of respondents prefer that their future tax dollars be spent on social services such as education, affordable housing and transit. Twenty-three per cent said they want to spend more on policing services, while 24 per cent said they were not sure how they wanted their money spent.
The Nov. 1 poll was commissioned by the African Canadian Legal Clinic, which wanted to take the pulse of the province amid “a climate where we continue to see, particularly in Toronto, an increase in spending towards police budgets,” said Roger Love, a lawyer with the non-profit organization.
“I think it definitely goes to show that Ontarians believe that we can’t police our way to a safer community, we can’t police our way to a more equitable community — and that a lot of the problems, or the social ills, which are being dealt with by way of policing are probably better dealt with by injecting more money into social services that can attack the root of the problem.”
The poll surveyed residents through both land lines and cellphones; the survey within the GTA is considered accurate within 4.83 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The first question asked was “Spending on police services has been increasing. Some say more spending on police keeps communities safer, while others say it would be better to spend money on social services like affordable housing, transit and education to tackle poverty. Where would you prefer future tax dollars to go?”
Budget talks between the Toronto Police Service and the its civilian oversight board continue this week, with the board expected to approve the force’s request for an increase at its meeting Thursday.
After originally requesting a 5.8 per cent increase in 2017 over this year’s budget, the force is now seeking a 2.76 per cent increase — which amounts to an additional $27 million. That brings the total police budget to more than $1 billion.
“We will continue to work at it until the very last day to make sure we are investing the public’s hard-earned money as wisely as possible in maintaining a safe city,” Tory told reporters this week.
As revealed by the Star last week, consulting firm KPMG previously presented a report to the board that contained radical cost-cutting measures, including shuttering the city’s 17 police divisions and moving toward storefront operations. But the report was not made public ahead of the budget process.
Toronto Police Services Board chair Andy Pringle said in a statement Tuesday that the report would now be made public ahead of the board’s meeting in December.