Justice ministry officials provide new evidence confirming Liberals bogus budget

Victoria – Senior Justice Ministry officials are providing new evidence that confirms the Liberals’ promises of a balanced budget and protecting essential public services are false, says New Democrats.

“Before the election, the Liberals insisted they had produced a balanced budget, ignoring warnings from even finance staff that the budget faced real risks – including the demands on the justice system. And now, a mere four days away from the end of the second quarter, the deputy ministers for Justice are confirming that they have been unable to meet their budget,” said leader Adrian Dix.

In a correspondence sent to staff this week, the Deputy Attorney General and Solicitor General confirm that they are not able to meet their allocated budget: “the ministry’s current expenditures forecasts tell us that we are not on course to end this fiscal year within our voted budget.

Their statement follows finance officials identifying demands on the justice system as a risk to the budget, both in the February budget and its June reiteration.

Attorney General critic Leonard Krog worries that this fiscal reality will result in the Liberals breaking their campaign promise to protect public services such as legal aid.

“The deputy ministers, in their correspondence, also state that they are going to look at ways to reduce spending in order to meet budget targets – targets that were clearly not realistic in the first place. Over the past decade, legal aid funding has been the target of Liberal cuts, and I am concerned that access to justice for many vulnerable British Columbians is now in further jeopardy.

“As a result of high need, legal aid is already in a deficit. And a recent brief from the Legal Services Society advises lawyers to avoid performing any legal aid work, including child protection cases, between Feb. 17 and March 31 of 2014 – a time period that falls within the last fiscal quarter,” explained Krog.