Calgary mayoral candidate and city councillor Jeromy Farkas believes he was ousted from another stint with the Calgary Police Commission after refusing to call policing systemically racist.
“This removal follows Farkas’ refusal to endorse statements that the ‘foundation of policing is racist’ and his opposition to Council’s plan to drastically and further reduce the Calgary Police Service budget,” read an official statement from Farkas’ office.
Farkas’ request to continue to serve in his position, which was set to expire by the end of October, was turned down by council last Thursday.
Farkas’ departure comes prior to Ward 8 Councillor Evan Wooley’s plan to raise a motion demanding a 5% or $10 million decrease to Calgary Police’s budget. A majority of the council have stated that they support Wooley’s plan.
“By courting the ‘abolish and defund police’ movement, City Council is playing with fire and it’s Calgarians who are getting burned,” said Farkas.
“There is no position or title in the world that is worth putting my family, neighbours, and constituents in dangers. I would rather be fired than be made to do or say something that would put Calgarians at risk.”
Calgary has seen an unsettling increase in crime in recent memory. According to Statistics Canada data, the city’s ranking on the Crime Severity Index (CSI) rose for the fourth year in a row in 2019.
Last year, the city reported a CSI of 92.9 which was the 10th highest across the country and several degrees higher than Canada’s 79.5 average.
Calgary is not the only city floating plans to defund its local police force.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has endorsed a plan to implement 80 changes towards defunding the city’s police force.
The plan suggests the introduction of “alternative” methods to policing, it calls on the Toronto Police Service’s budget to be reduced and for the force to address systemic racism within its own ranks.