Fight against armed violence | Laval denounces an “injustice” against Montreal

“The life of a Laval resident is not worth less than that of a Montrealer. » It is with this shocking declaration that the mayor of Laval Stéphane Boyer denounced on Monday the “injustice” that his municipality suffers in terms of financing against armed violence. He maintains that the aid of 20 million granted by Quebec comes “too little too late”.

“In 2022, the ratio of murders per 100,000 inhabitants was 2.73 in Laval, while it was 2.32 in Montreal. Meanwhile, the day before the provincial elections were called, Quebec announced aid of 250 million for the city of Montreal, but nothing for Laval,” denounced Mr. Boyer on Monday.

The mayor’s exit was all the more surprising as he was then alongside the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel. The latter had just announced the investment of 20 million in Laval to add 20 resources to its police service, with the aim of combating armed violence.

This amount, says Mr. Boyer, is however far too meager. He claims to have asked Quebec the day after the elections “to obtain aid comparable to that received by Montreal in proportion to its population, or around 60 million”.

“To announce a year later a sum three times smaller is too little too late and above all unfair for our citizens. The life of a Laval resident is not worth less than that of a Montrealer,” thundered the mayor of Laval, who suggests as a “solution” to the government to draw on the 85 million granted by Ottawa as part of the federal program against armed violence.

If Laval’s homicide rate was higher than Montreal in 2022, the fact remains that the overall crime rate of the metropolis has been significantly higher than its neighbor for at least a quarter of a century. Data from the Quebec Ministry of Public Security shows a rate of 3,910 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in Montreal in 2021, compared to 3,063 in Laval.

40% fewer police officers

The mayor of Laval claims to have had to “reduce his ambitions” because of the “check three times smaller”. “The next step in our plan was to increase the ratio of police officers per capita to have a ratio comparable to that of Quebec. […] The requested aid of 60 million was to finance this near stage. »

“It is unfortunately the municipality which will have to extend the missing sums, which Montreal will not have to do,” he persisted, arguing that Laval must face a comparable challenge of armed violence “with almost 40% fewer police officers.”

According to data provided by the City, the ratio of police officers per 1,000 inhabitants is 1.37 in Laval, compared to 2.3 in Montreal.

Mr. Boyer directly appealed to the office of Prime Minister François Legault, saying he understood that “money is lacking and that priorities abound.” “I am well aware that you will not like this public outing, know that I have no pleasure in doing it, but if I decide to do it today, it is because for a year already we have been trying to correct the “Injustice in private,” he said.

Quebec remains cautious

Called to react during the press conference, Minister François Bonnardel remained very cautious.

“We are aware of the statistics which are not pleasant. We are aware that we are experiencing a difficult situation in terms of armed violence and weapons seizures, but we are also convinced that the addition of these 20 police officers will give a huge helping hand to the Laval Police Department. he retorted, adding that he did not want to “report on the discussions” between his ministry and the City of Laval.

In writing, Mr. Bonnardel’s office emphasizes that the problem of armed violence “must be looked at as a whole.” “It is important for all partners to work in a constructive and collaborative manner,” says the press secretary, Geneviève Tremblay. Behind the scenes, it is also clearly argued that the minister does not wish to enter into an “opposition dynamic”.

The minister responsible for the region Christopher Skeete, who was also on site, spoke of “particular issues” in Laval.

He also acknowledged having to report this reality to the National Assembly, by “educating my colleagues”. “That said, my colleague [François Bonnardel] has all my confidence,” reiterated Mr. Skeete, referring to “very difficult imperatives” to balance.

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