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Is it time to rethink policing in Canada?

Thousands of Canadians have taken to the streets demanding an end to police brutality, calling out systemic racism in policing and making the case for defunding police. But what does "defunding police" actually mean?

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'Defund the police' has become a rallying cry against police excessive force since video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into the neck of George Floyd as he pleaded he couldn't breathe moments before his death. (Ragan Clark/The Associated Press)

Thousands of Canadians have taken to the streets over the past few weeks demanding an end to police brutality, calling out systemic racism in policing and making the case for defunding police.

But what does "defunding police" actually mean?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that the RCMP and other police forces across the country have a problem with systemic racism.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said Friday that she believes systemic racism exists in the police force she leads — after telling several media outlets that she was "struggling" to define the term.

Two Toronto city councillors are proposing a motion that calls for a 10 per cent cut to the city's police budget, with the intent to invest the saved money into community programs.

The mayors of Montreal and Vancouver, have expressed a willingness to engage in the discussion. But not all politicians are sold on the idea.

"I don't believe in that for a second," Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters on Tuesday.

Protests in Canada have called out police violence particularly against Black and Indigenous people. It follows even more widespread marches and riots in the U.S., following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Our question this week: Is it time to rethink policing in Canada?

Plus, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly will take your questions in our Ask Me Anything segment.

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