Critics say it’s the Ontario government’s unwillingness to take swift action on the underfunded legal aid system that’s fuelling a growing boycott in the province.
Adam Boni of the Criminal Lawyers Association says people both inside and outside the justice system have come to see that defence lawyers aren’t getting the money they need to try cases.
It’s a problem he says requires immediate attention, despite the province’s argument that it has no money to offer during a time of recession.
Boni says that excuse rings hollow in the wake of funding announcements for police forces, such as a $10-million investment in a Toronto anti-violence plan last month.
NDP critic Peter Kormos says he believes Attorney General Chris Bentley understands legal aid is underfunded, but doesn’t have the government’s backing to bring more money to the table.
A former Superior Court justice and the province’s Crown attorneys joined the legal aid protest this week, warning that ongoing neglect will do irreversible damage to the justice system.