Geoff Plant was the first Attorney General to receive a vote of non confidence from BC Lawyers, he implemented the biggest cuts in legal aid in Canadian history, held a public referendum on treaty rights that was so flawed that it was widely ignored, and has watched while the Campbell government systematically ripped up legal and binding contracts with Teachers and BC Health care and community social services workers.
Plant has also sat back while the Government contracted with American owned companies to collect, manage and maintain BC health, medical and financial (BC Hydro) information, putting the privacy of BC citizens at risk. Plant closed court houses across BC forcing many people to drive two or three hours to deal with legal matters.
Women have been especially hard hit by the AG's ministry. The AG removed manatory charges in the case of domestic disputes. Often women were intimidated into dropping charges so the Crown would file charges in the event a woman is assualted in a domestic dispute.
Now the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is taking the BC Government to court over the cuts to legal aid. On February 19, 2005, the CBA announced a blue ribbon legal team to launch a challenge British Columbia’s legal aid plan.
“We believe that a constitutional right to civil legal aid must be established in this country, and we believe that the situation is urgent,” said CBA President Susan McGrath of Iroquois Falls, Ont., in making the announcement at the 2005 CBA Mid-Winter Meeting. “Without legal aid, access to justice is a hollow phrase, as many people simply cannot take advantage of their legal rights.”
The legal team is headed by CBA Past President J.J. Camp, Q.C., of the Vancouver law firm of Camp Fiorante Matthews, the team includes Sharon Matthews of the same firm, and Melina Buckley, Ph.D. and Gwen Brodsky, Ph.D. also of Vancouver.