TORONTO, April 25, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Crown Counsel (CACC) today issued a statement condemning the Quebec's government's action in reneging on an agreement to give its civil lawyers parity with the province's Crown prosecutors, negotiated last autumn. It fully supports the civil lawyers' application to the Labour Relations Board of Quebec to enforce the agreement it made with the Quebec government.
The CACC represents all provincial and federal member organizations of front-line government lawyers in Canada. The civil lawyers' association - L'Association des juristes de l'Etat (AJE) -- is a member of the CACC.
In a statement issued today, James R. Chaffe, President of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel, said:
"In February of 2011, Quebec government lawyers and prosecutors were forced to go on strike in an attempt to rebuild an administration of justice that was in tatters. The CACC and representatives of front line government lawyers and prosecutors across Canada stood arm in arm with the Quebec lawyers and prosecutors on the first day of the strike and in their continuing efforts to secure the justice system Quebecers deserve. Thirteen days later, the Quebec government passed back to work legislation, ending that lawful strike.
"The administration of justice in Quebec was in a state of crisis. Notwithstanding the back to work legislation, Quebec government lawyers through the AJE and prosecutors through the APPCP tried again to negotiate with the Government. In the summer of 2011, the AJE and the Quebec government achieved a historic settlement regarding their working conditions. That agreement included a clause guaranteeing the Quebec government lawyers parity in total compensation paid in any agreement achieved by Quebec prosecutors in their later negotiations.
"Recently, the Quebec government has decided that it will not abide by this guarantee. Astoundingly, the Government has indicated that it will not sign the negotiated collective agreement unless the AJE abandons its attempt to enforce the guarantee. The Government is holding the entire negotiated settlement hostage and threatening to return this part of the administration of justice in Quebec to the state of crisis that existed prior to the settlement.
"Sadly, it would appear that the Quebec government has returned to its practice of negotiating in bad faith. This conduct was denounced within Quebec by the public, justice organizations of every stripe, nationally and internationally at the time of the back to work legislation in February 2011.
"The AJE will again be forced to expose the egregious behavior of the Quebec Government, with the full support of the CACC, to the public, the courts, justice organizations across Canada and internationally.
"Front-line government lawyers are the institutional safeguard that ensures that your provincial government acts lawfully. They play an essential constitutional role, often behind closed doors, speaking truth to power. They have the support of the CACC and they deserve the support of the public."
For further information:
For interviews: James R. Chaffe, President CACC/ACJE
TELEPHONE # 647-330-4272