Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan is demanding the NDP Government avert a possible lawyers strike by immediately increasing Legal Aid funding.
“This is a crisis that affects all Albertans. But NDP Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley is delaying a solution and desperately-needed increased funding with more “consultations,” forcing lawyers to take drastic action. The impact is longer court wait times and impairing access to the legal system for everyday Albertans.
“Justice delayed is Justice denied.”
Alberta Liberals support Ian Savage, President of the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association (CDLA), who said a lawyers strike is possible if the NDP Government doesn’t provide a significant funding increase for Legal Aid.
“Legal Aid in Alberta is currently underfunded by about $61 million, according to the CDLA.
“Everyday Albertans unable to afford a private lawyer cannot access a Legal Aid loan to receive legal representation in court. The CDLA says full-time employees making the minimum wage would not qualify for Legal Aid coverage. If you earn more than $19,000 a year you would be ineligible for Legal Aid.
“If the working poor can’t get Legal Aid then the system is broken. It must be fixed now.
“This lack of legal representation dramatically slows down court proceedings, contributing to the court wait times crisis in our Justice System. This crisis has contributed to charges being stayed in high-profile criminal court cases.
“I have been calling for increased Legal Aid funding since becoming Alberta Liberal Party Leader in June 2017. Why is NDP Justice Minister Ganley still foot dragging on this important issue?
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan says the NDP Government have failed again to meaningfully strengthen election finance rules with Bill 16 (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Statutes Amendment Act) by continuing to ignore Political Action Committees (PACs).
Khan stated, “The NDP Government continues to dash Albertans’ hopes for meaningful legislative changes regulating third-party political actors in this province.
“Bill 16 is yet another failure by this NDP Government to address issues like union, corporate and even foreign donations. They’ve also left the door wide open for unlimited political activity other than advertising.
“The NDP dances around the edges looking to close loopholes that benefit the UCP but fails to address the obvious benefits to the NDP.
“Electoral reform should safeguard and assure Albertans of the fairness of our democracy. It should not empower the NDP’s re-election strategy.”
The Alberta Liberal Opposition introduced Bill 214 (An Act to Regulate Political Action Committees) to address Alberta’s growing PAC problems in the 2017 Fall Legislature sitting. The Bill was the most comprehensive legislation ever proposed on regulating PACs in Canada. The NDP Government did not support our legislation. Instead the NDP introduced watered-down legislation that did not hamper their own PAC - Project Alberta.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are calling the UCP’s founding convention and policies a step backward for Albertans:
Khan stated, “I am disturbed by the policies passed threatening GSAs and the ability for youth to get access to important medical procedures coming out of the UCP convention this weekend.
“Alberta Liberals fought hard for the implementation of GSAs in the Fall of 2014 with MLA Laurie Blakeman pushing Bill 10.”
MLA David Swann added, “We were the first party to introduce to create and protect GSAs and we’ll keep fighting to protect a student’s right to access them.
Khan and Swann say “We find the policy supporting a requirement for parental consent for medical procedures offensive.
“A minor should not be denied access because of their parent’s beliefs.
“It should be the child’s decision to make.”
Khan concluded, “I fought against Jason Kenney in the Calgary-Lougheed by-election despite the odds because this is 2018 and his agenda takes us back to 1978.
“Alberta Liberals have the bold forward-thinking policies to give Albertans a better tomorrow.”