Advisory Council Outraged by Justice Minister?s Comments: January 9, 2004Wednesday, July 28 2010
Advisory Council Outraged by Justice Minister’s Comments: January 9, 2004
The Newfoundland and Labrador Advisory Council is disturbed by the recent comments of Justice Minister Tom Marshall. Minister Marshall commented to CBC that “taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for lawyers to fight over property disputes in separations and divorces.” He further stated that “two people spend $5000 or $6000 on their wedding, but when they get divorced they want the taxpayers of this country to pay for it, I don’t think we can continue to do that.”
President of the Advisory Council, Joyce Hancock, feels that this Minister needs to be reminded that the people who look to the legal aid system are women - women who need legal aid representation because of disputed divorce situations, issues of custody and access and child support. Women’s organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador have spent decades working to inform justice officials and to correct the gender bias in our legal aid system. Now we have a Minister whose first public comments are ill informed and draconian.
Surely when the Premier stated in his address Monday evening that every government program is under review he did not mean for his Ministers to target those which assist the most vulnerable. Advocacy organizations and victims groups have been hoping that government Ministers would be spending time with individuals and groups who work with women and other marginalized populations prior to making comments or decisions on what programs and services might get downsized.
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