Defund Toronto Police - Property Tax Strike to Demand Racial Justice

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The recent deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police has ignited worldwide protest against racist violence. While the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the resulting civil unrest in the US have dominated headlines, it is vital to remember that Black and Indigenous Canadians also suffer disproportionately from police violence, as we have recently witnessed with the death of a Black woman, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, after an encounter with Toronto police, and the shooting death of an Indigenous woman, Chantel Moore, by police in New Brunswick.

The City of Toronto's 2020 budget, totalling $13.5 billion, includes an allocation of $1.076 billion for Toronto Police Services (TPS), which is more than the budget for shelters, children's services, paramedic services, employment and social service, culture, and the library system combined.

This petition is a call for Toronto property owners to withhold 23% of their property taxes - the percentage of every property tax bill that goes towards funding TPS - until the following demands are met:

1. To never again vote to increase the Toronto Police Service budget.
2. To propose and implement a TPS budget cut of, at the absolute minimum, $276 million or just 10% of Mayor John Tory’s estimate of a $2.76 billion budget shortfall – what he called “one of the greatest financial challenges the city has ever faced” – as we struggle to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. To prioritize the expansion of community-led health and safety initiatives over future financial investment into the Toronto Police Service.

Toronto must follow the lead of municipalities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles that have already made small but meaningful commitments to defund the police and reallocate funds towards supporting racialized and marginalized communities. Yes, it is difficult to fathom a world without police, and it is understandable to fear that defunding the police might lead to anarchy and lawlessness. But consider the growing call for alternatives to policing, many of which have been successfully implemented in other cities. More importantly, consider the possibility of putting an end to the violence perpetrated agains Black, Indigenous, and marginalized people in our city.

If you're a renter, please sign the petition to express your support for the defunding of TPS. But more importantly, if you're a property owner, please sign and pledge your intention to not pay into a city budget that endangers our vulnerable neighbours and friends. Consider putting aside these funds until our demands are met, or better yet, donating them to an organization supporting those who are suffering from police violence. Local officials might not make much of a online petition, but they will certainly take notice of concerted economic protest.

In addition, this is the time to put pressure on local officials by expressing your shock and concern. This link will automatically open an email address to Mayor Tory and the rest of Toronto City Council that makes the demands listed above.

This is the time for meaningful action to make our city safer for ALL people.