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Province begins consultations on police carding; no session in Hamilton

The provincial government's five-city public consultation tour will not stop in Hamilton.

Brampton will host a public consultation Tuesday night

Provincial consultations on police carding are being held in several locations in Ontario this summer including Tuesday evening's meeting in Brampton. (CBC)

The provincial government's five-city public consultation tour on police carding and street checks will not stop in Hamilton.

The tour, which started last Friday in Ottawa, will be in Brampton Tuesday night, its closest stop to steel city.

Hamilton city councillor Matthew Green, who called for the province's participation in the controversial police practice in the city, was disappointed Hamilton would be involved.

But Green said it should not dissuade residents from having a forum of their own, and presenting those findings to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services while they are listening.

"I want people to have the opportunity to have input while the province is taking it," Green said.

Ministry spokesperson Lauren Callighen previously said the ministry wanted input from Hamilton, and that they would use the public consultations as input to produce "clear and consistent guidelines" for police officers. They would also be used to make everyone aware of the new rules, "whether you're in Toronto, Hamilton or Thunder Bay."

Ottawa hosted the first of five public consultations Friday. Future stops are in Brampton (Aug. 25), Thunder Bay (Aug. 27), London (Aug. 31) and Toronto (Sept. 1).

The ministry did not immediately respond to questions as to why Hamilton was not on the list of cities to host public consultations, or how the five cities were selected.

Carding, or street checks, involves stopping people who have not necessarily done anything wrong to question them, record their ID and whereabouts, and later enter that information in the police database. 

The issue of carding has been heavily tied with race, but Green insists the practice is less about race and more "about our constitutional rights as Canadians."

Statistics released by Hamilton police show visible minorities, particularly blacks, are stopped disproportionately.

Visible minorities make up about 15.7 per cent of Hamilton's population, according to 2011 Census numbers the Hamilton Police cited Thursday. But 25 per cent of street checks were conducted on visible minorities between 2010 and 2014.

The rate is especially disproportionate for black people, who made up 3.2 per cent of Hamilton's population in 2011. Between 11 and 14 per cent of the street checks done in Hamilton were on black people between 2010 and 2014 -- a rate three to four times the population. 

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