Justice issues in Happy Valley-Goose Bay under control, he says
Attorney General Felix Collins downplayed Wednesday the severity of the situation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where all of the Crown attorneys are either leaving or have given notice.
Attorney General Felix Collins
But Collins said help is on the way.
“We have recruited a very senior Crown from Ontario who will be on the job up there next month,” he said.
“With respect to the two vacancies, we have two people assigned from St. John’s who are handling the district circuits of Natuashish and Nain. Mr. Speaker, we have a Crown prosecutor over in Wabush who comes over regularly. We are prepared to send any extra Crowns we need from the Island to handle any excess files or excess workload they have in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.”
Collins was responding to questions from Liberal MHA Randy Edmunds, who asked the question in the House of Assembly following a report by the weekly newspaper The Labradorian.
The Labradorian reported that of the three Crown lawyers in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the senior Crown has been transferred to the island and the other two have given notice.
“We have raised the issue of the lack of resources in the justice system in Labrador on several occasions, which this government fails to recognize,” Edmunds said.
“I ask the minister: when are you finally going to admit that we have a resource deficit in Labrador and when are you going to get serious about this crisis?”
But Collins said that contrary to what Edmunds was saying, the government has actually increased Labrador legal services.
“As a matter of fact, in last year’s budget we added an additional Crown,” he said.
“We are currently undergoing a recruitment process there. The senior Crown has requested a transfer after many very valuable years of service in Labrador. A recruitment candidate has been found and will replace him next month. In the meantime, we have measures in place to offset any vacancies that are there. With an active recruitment program in place, Mr. Speaker, we fully intend to have that office up to speed as quickly as possible.”