They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If that’s the case, Winnipeg really needs to give its head a shake when it comes to addressing safety and justice.
Tuesday night in the North End of Winnipeg 2 scary things happened.
- The Winnipeg police hosted a “consultation” asking North Enders about where in the old ex grounds we could demolish some fields (where Winnipeg North Nomads play and where baseball teams heavily use) so they could build a new mega police station. Really?? The city thinks it’s a good idea to displace youth opportunity and community recreation? Sounds like safety to me.
- From 7-10pm there was a military exercise at the McGregor Armoury which involved armed personnel (with unloaded guns), read about it here.
So when I think of safety in the community, I really don’t think of mega police stations and military operations. Yes, the military needs spaces to practice, and yes the police need a station to live in, but both of these things need to happen in appropriate places.
I was an Army Cadet at 1226 Fort Garry Horse Cadet Corps at the McGregor Armoury for 7 years in my youth. I see the value of that building being here in the community as it pertains to providing leadership development for young people. I think military excercises or operations need to be contained and not spill out into the broader community, but I do appreciate the media alerting residents about this, good communication.
On the surface, the military excercise doesn’t seem too bad. But in combination with displacing recreation for a mega police station it paints a broader and more troubling picture. Combine stats about the use of what we call “the batmobile” (police tank) and police helicopter (AIR1), the over representation First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in the remand centre and federal/provincial institutions, this normalization of military force is scary for folks living in the inner city. If this is alarming to you like it is to me, speak out. Let’s call our city Councillors and decision makers so they know how we feel. Is this what justice in Winnipeg looks like?
How do we prevent crime in a logical and safe way? How do we emphasize citizen participation, recreation and communication as part of the solution? How do we stop the bleeding before the wound gets infected?