Kids are back to school this fall without the same intense COVID-19 measures, however, new measures are being taken in Moncton schools. RCMP officers are now stationed within select high schools in the city.
A CBC article published in early September quoted Superintendent Benoit Jolette, the interim commanding officer of the RCMP, who said their duties will range from helping staff develop safety plans and lockdown drills to “dealing with problem students.”
Moncton is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and ranks third in reported crimes in the country. But, why is Moncton’s reported crime rate so high? Is there so much more crime than before? It depends on who you ask. Displacement caused by gentrification, higher costs of living, low minimum wage rates, and a Conservative government that is more concerned about the one percent getting tax breaks (cough cough the Irvings) than the 99% have combined to create an atmosphere of increased policing.
Moncton is a growing city, but this growth is not geared toward social service infrastructure. Rather it is growth seen within higher end businesses and housing to support a certain demographic of workers who make well above the minimum wage. This type of growth is always accompanied by increased policing, as city officials do the work that real estate investors’ demand.
Gentrification paired with the province’s low minimum wage leaves working class people struggling to make ends meet. When rent is the majority of one’s paycheck, and with soaring prices for goods and services, saving is not really an option. This has pushed many people into the streets and criminalized them as a result.
Defund the RCMP
Bookbags, buses, pencils, erasers – these are just a few things we associate with our young public education schooling system. Now, RCMP officers will be part of the new generation of students’ memories. For many youth, having a recurring RCMP presence will be harmful and will not pose as a sufficient solution to safety.
A real solution to problems in Moncton would be defunding the police and redistributing tax funds to services and infrastructure that people need to be happy and healthy. Hopefully as Moncton grows, so can its infrastructure to prevent homelessness and the cycles of addiction and poverty.
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