HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Ontario To Spend $30m To Hire Police
Pubdate: Thu, 21 Oct 2004
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: April Lindgren
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Three-Year Plan Will Cover Half The Cost Of 1,000 New Officers Across

TORONTO - Ontario's cash-strapped Liberal government says it will
spend $30 million a year over three years to hire 1,000 more police
officers despite statistics indicating there is no increase in
provincial crime rates.

Premier Dalton McGuinty, who promoted the hiring plan during last
fall's election, will outline the program when he speaks to the
Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police today in Toronto.

Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter defended the initiative and
its cost yesterday, noting the hiring will be phased in over the next
three years and the government's $30-million share represents just 50
per cent of the cost.

The balance will have to be paid for by municipalities that in the end
may simply not be able to afford it, he said.

"Crime is actually going down, interestingly enough," Mr. Kwinter

"But notwithstanding that, there certainly is a requirement that we
have more officers on the street. Statistically, crimes are going
down, but there are still a lot of things that can be done," he said,
noting police officers earlier this week said they lack the resources
to conduct a major crackdown on marijuana grow operations.

Attorney General Michael Bryant also insisted the hiring should go

"We made the commitment. We did so with a view to ensuring that we had
a justice system that was responsive to the needs of the community
(and) the best crime prevention tool on the planet is a police officer.

"I think people will judge our overall spending priorities and see
that this is an appropriate use of our budget," said Mr. Bryant, whose
government will run a $2.2-billion deficit this year.

Statistics Canada data show overall crime rates in Ontario declined by
22 per cent over the last decade.

Between 2002 and 2003, the overall rate remained stable, while violent
crime fell by five per cent.

NDP leader Howard Hampton said Mr. McGuinty suffers from such a
credibility problem with Ontario voters the Grits are "desperately
looking at any promise they can fulfil, whether the promise makes
sense or not." He said the $30 million would be better spent on
education and recreational programs designed to prevent crime among
young men, who are the most likely to get into trouble.

"Simply saying 'let's hire more police officers' is a very unfocused
way of addressing the issues."
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