There are a million stories in the Doug Ford era of provincial governance, and covering them all isn’t easy. One of the stories that has perhaps fallen through the cracks is the cuts to Legal Aid Ontario. In April’s provincial budget, funding to legal aid was cut by 30 per cent, and all $133 million of that took effect immediately. So now what?
Thousands of people who count as Ontario’s most vulnerable – including drug addicts, people with mental health issues, victims of domestic abuse, and people who live in poverty – desperately needed the access that legal aid provides. Without quality legal assistance, these cuts could mean a greater chance of miscarriages of justice, and a much slower court system as more people are forced to represent themselves.
The quality and speed of our justice system should be a major cause for concern to everyone in Ontario, at least that’s what the lawyers themselves are trying to make us understand, and two of those lawyers are guests on this week’s podcast. First, you’ll hear from criminal lawyer Michael Spratt, a partner at Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP in Ottawa, and then you’ll hear from Anthea Millikin, the executive director of the Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County.
From Spratt, you’ll hear about the negative consequences of legal aid cuts from his point of view as a criminal attorney who argues cases for clients who receive legal aid. You’ll also hear about the complexities of being a legal aid attorney, what people may not understand about the legal system, and why it’s full speed ahead on these cuts even though the government is full of lawyers that should know better. After that, you’ll hear from Millikin about how the cuts are directly affecting the work being done out of our own legal clinic.
So let’s dive into why our legal aid system is needing some aid of it’s own on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can read more of Spratt’s writings about the law and politics on his blog. You can also listen to his podcast, The Docket, by downloading it from Soundcloud, or subscribe on iTunes. To access the services of Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County, you can find them online, call them at 519-821-2100, or visit their office at 176 Wyndham St N.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.