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Jim Munson

The Hon. Jim  Munson Senator Jim Munson, a well-respected Canadian journalist, was appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chretien on December 10, 2003.

Statements & Hansard

Civil Legal Aid

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Statement made on 04 November 2010 by Senator Catherine Callbeck

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck:

Honourable senators, legal aid, both criminal and civil, was on the agenda at last month's federal, provincial and territorial meeting of justice ministers. Provincial and territorial ministers once again asked their federal counterpart to consider the strategic importance of civil legal aid. Once again, the Minister of Justice agreed only to take their concerns back to his federal colleagues. For the last few years, the federal minister has refused to engage in meaningful discussions with the provinces on this matter — legal aid — even though we face a crisis in the area.

As many will know, civil legal aid includes both family law, such as child support and custody issues, and poverty law, that is, people who have lost employment or need to obtain disability or income security benefits. This problem affects all of Canada's low-income population, which often includes women and children, people with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal peoples. There are all kinds of stories about people having to represent themselves in court because they cannot afford a lawyer and they cannot obtain legal aid.

Islander Daphne Dumont, a highly respected lawyer, advocate and 2009 recipient of the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, spoke about the lack of legal aid at a recent reception held by the Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward Island. She noted that "the basic access to justice is lacking" and called funding for civil legal aid a "perpetual problem."

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin has said:

Providing legal aid to low-income Canadians is an essential public service. We need to think of it in the same way we think of health care or education. The well being of our justice system — and the public's confidence in it — depends on it.

Our current civil legal aid system is a tragedy waiting to happen. It threatens people's rights and undermines the rule of law. I urge the Minister of Justice to reconsider his stance on civil legal aid, and work with his provincial counterparts to create a national funding stream for this much-needed service.

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Lillian Eva Dyck | Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people.

Income Inequality

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchelll | What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?
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