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?