On Wednesday, the government of BC announced it was launching a justice reform initiative, starting with a Green Paper (discussion paper) entitled Modernizing British Columbia’s Justice System.
Some groups were pleased to hear the news. Others were cynical. Here’s a quick roundup of reactions – swift and mixed – to the announcement:
- The TLABC issued a press release saying, “Legal aid requires immediate action, not further study. There is nothing left to investigate.”
- The Law Society welcomed the news, saying “we support a broad-based approach that involves all stakeholders.”
- The Superior Courts of BC issued a joint statement, saying “We always welcome the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Government and other justice system participants on the issues and challenges facing the justice system. […] Any recommendations for reform must respect the constitutional framework in which we operate.”
- In a press release, CBA BC President Sharon Matthews commented that “The CBABC is particularly pleased to see the emphasis on an evidence-based review.”
- Legal Services Society executive director Mark Benton said he “hopes this review will move the system forward more efficiently, giving people early resolutions at a lesser cost.”
- Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun said “The Liberals, in my opinion, are counting on more goodwill for reform than exists.”
- Michael Smith of The Province said “These are not new problems, and the government has had over a decade in power to deal with them. So why the sudden urgency on a file that’s been festering for years? Politics.”
- Les Leyne of the Times Colonist said “They’ve assigned Geoffrey Cowper, QC, to chair a review. His job is to find the explanation for all the confusing inconsistencies. Bond’s job is to make sure the answer involves spending as little new money as possible.
- The BC NDP said the review “lacks concrete measures”.
- John Martin, BC Conservative Justice Critic said “What BC’s justice system needs is action, not more reports.”