coalition of organizations and community members around the city organizing under the banner Another Toronto is Possible gathered in front of City Hall on Tuesday to demand a cancellation to the proposed $48.3 million budget increase for the Toronto Police Service. This follows an increase of $24.8 million in 2021, after the historic uprisings across North America demanding defunding and reallocation of police budgets.
Tuesday’s protest is part of a month-long series of actions highlighting police abuse and advocating for the reallocation of public money towards community supports. Speakers included the families of people killed by the police including Claudette Beals-Clayton, mother of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Taresh Bobby Ramroop’s family.
“I will fight for justice until the end of my life,” said Ramroop’s mother after a detailed speech about his future dreams and how his life was taken. “My son Taresh was killed by Toronto Police.”
“You will never find out why they killed your baby,” said Beals-Clayton looking on as Ramroop’s family told their story to the crowd. She took the mic minutes later to tell the crowd her daughter’s story.
Brianna Olson-Pitawanakwat of Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction spoke about the origins of policing in this country and the numerous public reports that name police forces as active and ongoing agents in the genocide of Indigenous peoples. These include the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The event closed with Jordn Geldert-Hautala, an unhoused Indigenous man well known in these communities, describing how he was abducted by Toronto Police in the summer of 2022 and taken to a military prison.
Another Toronto is Possible is helping organize and promote several upcoming actions including a public forum on public safety by TTC Riders, and the 18th annual Strawberry Ceremony in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans, and two-spirit people.
Mayor John Tory’s office will release its proposed budget on February 1 and deliberations will continue for two weeks before the budget is finalized.