Montreal mayor Valerie Plante spoke to reporters Sunday morning for the first time since the deadly shooting spree in Montreal last week.
Flanked by the city’s public security director Martin Prud’homme, Plante stressed that the incident was isolated and Montrealers must not give into fear.
“That could have happened anywhere, any time on the planet. It’s not related to Montreal,” she told reporters outside city hall.
Police killed the 26-year old suspect Thursday morning, after he allegedly shot and killed three men within 24 hours.
Quebec’s mental health review board said the suspect was a “significant risk” to public safety, but was released from hospital under certain conditions.
Plante called on the provincial government to improve the follow-up with people suffering from mental health issues.
“It definitely shows maybe a lack of of, I’ll say, control over when people are dealing are struggling with mental health issues and when they have certain conditions,” said Plante.
On Friday the Canadian government announced a ban on the importation of handguns starting this month. The day before, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced nearly $42 million toward preventing gun violence in Quebec.
Plante says she personally thanked Mendicino for the investment, but says “it’s not enough” and wants the federal government to go further to control gun violence.
“Money is great, but we also need to look at all the aspects of how to control better all the guns and gun trafficking,” adding “You need to make sure that everywhere in the country, it is safe.”
Montreal’s official opposition leader Aref Salem criticized the Plante governments’ late response.
“I’m more worried today after the conference than before the conference. After the conference, I didn’t know nothing new. I didn’t see any action taken. There’s no action at all,” he told reporters following the press conference.
Instead, Salem says he would like to see action in the form of a security plan and investments in community organizations who work with at-risk youth.
Ahead of the fall provincial election, Plante hopes to see party leaders tackle the issue of public safety during the campaign.
“You know how big I am on environment, but public security has to be a subject for the next election,” says Plante.
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