Montreal city councillor David Rudner says Montreal would consider giving Montreal police extra federal cash for
More police officers would be recruited to work with the province’s specialized squad in Montreal, to prevent gun violence in the city, the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, said on Tuesday.
The remarks from Plante came after a mass shooting on the city’s streets, in which the city’s top police officer said 50 officers had been called to Friday’s attempted robbery.
Ottawa should examine the “intimidation” of gun-owners by police, instead of taking more guns off the streets, the head of the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Andrew Bélanger, said, adding that “this is why we need to pay more attention to the consequences.”
On Monday, Montreal police chief Philippe Pichet said a robbery attempt led to the shooting of 13-year-old Hélène Grace Beaulieu. Police did not name the six suspects, but said they were from Montreal and the surrounding area. They said the suspects suffered gunshot wounds.
In a statement on Monday, the provincial government said there is no evidence so far that the shooting was politically motivated, but said it was “relying on the police in order to monitor and follow the situation closely”.
Police have not yet released a motive for the shooting.
Public safety minister Ralph Goodale told reporters he was aware of the statement from Montreal police chief Pichet. “I’m awaiting the investigation findings,” he said.
Percival Blais, a candidate for the rightwing Coalition Avenir Québec, compared Quebec’s gun control system to that of Syria, where the country’s main opposition party is being accused of training would-be jihadists. Blais said he didn’t see why it was wrong for Quebec to train the police to help prevent violent crime.
“We have soldiers in Syria, so why can’t we train police in Quebec to be able to identify and stop criminals?” Blais asked.
Pichet called last week’s attempted robbery a “natural, predictable and preventable tragedy”. He said the fact police were called on Friday was proof police were committed to preventing violent crimes.
Pichet also said the city was taking the right steps to reduce gun violence. “Our police services are very committed to doing the necessary measures to identify people who have guns and to take them off the streets. We have always complied with [all requests] of the federal and provincial government to improve security of our citizens,” he said.
In March, the federal government decided to bring in a law in July that would give police greater powers to seize any guns that may have belonged to a convicted criminal or chronic offender. To date, police have sought to remove approximately 4,000 guns. Quebec’s police have taken 849 weapons off the streets, the police have said.
The provincial government also increased the amount of confiscations to $10,000, up from $5,000. Quebec has the highest rate of gun violence in Canada, with 717 gun related homicides between 2005 and 2017.