The leader of the Green Party of Quebec, Alex Tyrrell, and Halimatou Bah, Deputy Leader and candidate in Sanguinet, spoke on Tuesday to put forward the position of the GPQ to fight against police brutality, discrimination and systemic racism that plague our societies.
The demonstrations that took place around the world following the death of George Floyd in the United States have highlighted the police brutality, discrimination and systemic racism that have plagued our societies for too long. All too often, politicians respond to these tragedies by giving more money to police forces. This strategy has failed. Police officers are becoming more and more numerous and social services are becoming more and more difficult to find. The best way to fight crime and discrimination is to ensure that our society is educated, prosperous, fair and healthy. This starts with a strategy focused on prevention. The Green Party of Quebec believes that the best solution is to cut the police budget by 50% while investing that money in social programs.
The DMP is opposed to any form of militarization of law enforcement and instead encourages de-escalation approaches to violence in order to restore calm, not generate panic or worsen conflict. We also propose a ban on the use of agents provocateurs, the wearing of civilian clothes, and intimidation during demonstrations. The Green Party of Quebec also supports a ban on the use of plastic bullets by police, which cause death 1 out of 37 times. Finally, we want riot police to prioritize the peaceful resolution of demonstrations whenever possible.
The Green Party of Quebec also recommends a progressive disarmament of patrol officers, similar to the practices of the United Kingdom, Norway and New Zealand. In parallel with disarmament, we recommend an increase in conflict resolution training, avoiding the use of weapons and encouraging the multitude of other existing practices that promote group strategies to control individuals being challenged. This transition will allow police forces to focus on education and prevention rather than repression or oppression of citizens.
The Quebec government legislated in 2013 to create the Independent Investigation Office (IIO), which is responsible for investigating serious injuries and deaths during police interventions. The BEI has been severely criticized for hiring a large number of retired police officers, rather than citizens who are independent of the police. There are also major shortcomings in transparency, including the fact that investigation reports are not made public. The Green Party of Quebec proposes to correct these shortcomings in order to restore public confidence in Quebec’s police forces.
In many North American jurisdictions, police officers are equipped with body cameras that capture images of their actions. Quebec has already experimented with pilot projects and the Green Party of Quebec believes that these cameras should be worn by all police officers in the province. The party also wants these cameras to be activated at all times, rather than at the whim of peacekeepers. The content of these cameras should be accessible to the public concerned upon request.
The Green Party of Quebec proposes to increase police training on several levels. First, we recommend the inclusion of humanities courses in CEGEP, such as psychology, crime intervention, social studies, ethnic relations and aboriginal history, to prepare police officers for field work and the social issues that affect them. Police forces should be aware of the dynamics of society and the impact their work can have on them. We then recommend the establishment of internships and trainings within social groups, so that intervention is practiced in the field.
The two representatives of the party also took the opportunity to position themselves on alcohol and drugs. The Green Party of Quebec proposes a complete legalization of drugs and a state supervision of the distribution of drugs produced, including those produced by chemical processes, which will guarantee the safety and quality of such processed products. The party believes that nationalization of distribution will remove a major source of revenue from organized crime, reducing violence and illegal trafficking, while providing a source of revenue for the state.