Is BC's "Justice Reform Initiative" Mere Political Theatre?
Cynicism is an undesirable lens to view matters through but sometimes it is appropriate. Unfortunately, some of the recent Bills introduced this week in the BC Legislature make it very difficult to view BC’s Justice Reform Initiative in any other way.
You may recall earlier this year the Government made a bold presentation highlighting perceived shortcomings in BC’s Justice System. The Government announced that a Justice Review would be undertaken to “identify actions that government, the judiciary, the legal profession, police and others can take to give British Columbians more timely and effective justice services“
The Government appointed Mr. Cowper to head this review and he was tasked to “report to government as he develops recommendations around engagement of key institutions and stakeholders. Government will provide periodic updates in response to his recommendations and he will make his final report to government by July 2012.”
It is now early May. We are two months away from Mr. Cowper’s “final report“. Despite this, the Government has introduced two Bills which have passed second reading seeking to drastically overhaul BC’s civil justice and traffic court system. Specifically I’m referring to Bill 52 and 44. I discussed these here and here.
If the Review’s final recommendations are not in yet how can laws seeking massive overhaul to BC’s civil and regulatory justice system be introduced? If these Bills pass Third Reading in the Spring Session, it appears the Justice Review is mere political theatre. If not, and the Government actually takes Mr. Cowper’s findings into consideration before passing these laws, then I will admit to being too quick in playing the cynicism card.