Roundup of Reactions To BC’s New Justice System Reform Initiative

February 10, 2012

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:

Legal Organizations

  • 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.”

The Media

  • 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.

Political Parties

  • 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.”

Hat tips to @theCLBC and @TLABC for pointing us to several of these items.

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