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Addressing root causes of meth crisis as important as increased policing: Mayor Brian Bowman

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The City of Winnipeg continues to work with other levels of government to combat the meth crisis, said Mayor Brian Bowman, but he doesn’t necessarily think increasing the police’s $300 million budget is the answer.

The mayor told 680 CJOB that if throwing money at the problem worked, the city wouldn’t be dealing with the current crisis.

“If it were simply a matter of councils – and I’m not just talking about our council, but previous councils – spending more money and getting very, very different results, then obviously the crime wouldn’t be where it is right now,” said Bowman

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“We need to scrutinize the dollars, we need to make sure we’re working collaboratively with an outstanding Winnipeg Police Service and chief.

“I don’t think anybody is going to say that the status quo is acceptable. We obviously need to better as a community.”

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READ MORE: ‘Meth camps’ showing up in city parks, says Winnipeg homeless advocate

It’s now been six months since the illicit drug task force was announced. Earlier this year, the task force said would present an action plan by June.

Bowman said he hasn’t been given a date for when that plan will be released, but expects it in the coming weeks.

The report, he said, shouldn’t be delayed by a provincial election.

“We’re not in a blackout phase and that report will need to be made public. We can’t wait for a blackout period or an election.

“The work is too important to let politics get in the way of action.”

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Bowman said one of his top priorities is to make sure police have the resources they need, but also to deal with the root causes of the crisis. Support for mental health and addictions treatment, he said, is desperately needed as well.

“Right now we know that there’s a desperate need for more mental health and addictions support, we know we have a homelessness problem in Winnipeg, and these are things that I’m really focusing in on as mayor because these are within my authority and council’s authority.”

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WATCH: Meth violence only getting worse in Winnipeg

Meth violence only getting worse in Winnipeg
Meth violence only getting worse in Winnipeg