Quebec Crown Prosecutors

Dozens of Quebec crown Prosecutors handed in resignation letters when their government legislated them back to work earlier this week. The government offered more money and the promise of more prosecutors. But it's far from enough for some lawyers. And prosecutors across the country say this isn't just a Quebec problem.



Today's guest host was Piya Chattopadhyay.

PART ONE

It's Thursday, February 24th.

U.S. President Barack Obama ordered his national security team to prepare a full range of options for dealing with the crisis in Libya.

Currently, options on the table range anywhere from hand-sitting to finger wagging.

This is The Current.

Quebec Crown Prosecutors - Sonia LeBel

We started this segment with a clip from Quebec Premier Jean Charest. And the solution he's talking about is his government's decision to legislate 1,500 crown prosecutors and lawyers back to work. They had been on strike for two weeks, asking for better pay and better working conditions.

The Quebec Government has agreed to a pay bump worth 6 per cent over five years. And it has agreed to hire 80 new prosecutors, as well as 40 researchers and 25 government jurists. But Sonia Lebel says that's just not enough to fix what she says is a dysfunctional system. Sonia LeBel is a crown prosecutor in Montreal.

For 20 years, she has been fighting what she believes is the good fight -- taking on biker gangs, drug dealers, murderers and abusers. And now, for the first time in her career, she's thinking seriously about quitting. Sonia LeBel was in Montreal.

We did request an interview with Quebec's Justice Minister, Jean-Marc Fournier and with Premier Jean Charest. Neither was available this morning. However, Jean-Marc Fornier did speak with the media shortly after the back-to-work legislation was passed. We aired part of what he had to say.

Quebec Crown Prosecutors - Panel

Quebec isn't the only province where crown prosecutors are complaining about their working conditions and raising concerns about what that means for the justice system.

For a sense of the situation across the country, we were joined by two people. Rick Woodburn is the President of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys' Association. He was in Halifax. And James Chaffe is the President of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel. He was in Toronto.

Related Links:

Music Bridge

Artist: Doug Cox
Cd: Slide to Freedom
Cut: # 8, Meeting by the Liver
Label: Northern Blues
Spine: NBM 0039

Other segments from today's show:

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