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Halifax council votes in favour of cancelling armoured vehicle purchase

Click to play video 'Halifax cancels purchasing an armoured vehicle for police' Halifax cancels purchasing an armoured vehicle for police
WATCH: Halifax council has bent to public pressure and voted to cancel purchasing an armoured vehicle for Halifax Regional Police, after hundreds of letters to councillors in call for change. Ashley Field reports. – Jun 9, 2020

Halifax Regional Council has voted in favour of cancelling its controversial purchase of an armoured vehicle for the municipality’s police force.

Council voted 16-1 in favour of a motion to cancel the already awarded contract during the municipality’s budget meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Coun. Steve Adams was the only one to vote against it.

READ MORE: Controversial armoured vehicle for Halifax police to arrive in spring 2020, city announces

Coun. Shawn Cleary put forward the motion to cancel the purchase and redirect funds to the office of diversity and inclusion, special projects and toward anti-Black racism initiatives and efforts.

Councillors voted unanimously to reallocate the money, with $53,500 going to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, $36,000 going to the Public Safety Office and $300,000 to go towards fighting anti-Black racism.

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Click to play video 'Advocates call for defunding Halifax police' Advocates call for defunding Halifax police
Advocates call for defunding Halifax police – Jun 8, 2020

Mayor Mike Savage says he supported the purchase last year to protect officers but has changed his mind.

“On a matter of morality and representing our constituents and understanding legitimately where they’re coming from, I think it’s the right thing to do,” Savage said.

“This is an important statement we’re making today in this vote. It’s not an anti-police vote.”

Halifax councillors have said they’ve been inundated by calls to defund police and reverse course on its purchase of an armoured vehicle.

Lana MacLean sent one of those emails, saying policing should be more of a community approach.

“Community policing is a more relevant way to build relationships and not the militarization of policing forces,” MacLean said.

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Halifax activist Quentrel Provo says he and many others don’t feel safe around police, and this purchase wouldn’t help.

“You have to build relationships and you have to build trust, and an armoured vehicle is counter productive right now,” he said.

READ MORE: Halifax Regional Municipality councillors inundated by calls to defund police

He says today is a good start, but believes more needs to be done.

The motion still needs to be voted on in regular council for the contract to be officially cancelled.