Show me the money!


Show me the money!

Back in the 1996 movie Jerry Macguire, Tom Cruise famously shouted into the phone, “Show me the money!” As we make our way through the current pandemic, many of us are more concerned than ever about where the money is coming from, and how it is to be spent. In the month of June, the BC government approached stakeholders to get feedback on how they will use our taxpayer money in 2021. Incoming President Jennifer Brun provided a verbal presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services; CBABC provided written submissions at the end of June. Through discussions with the Board, the volunteer committees and feedback from ThoughtExchanges, we were able to identify those issues of key importance to members and formulate recommendations on how money should be allocated based on advocacy priorities for the coming year.

CBABC asked the government to “show us the money” by allocating funds to the following:

Technology to Improve Court Access

The government introduced a Court Digital Transformation Strategy in 2019, and with the closure of many courts and law offices due to COVID-19, the need to improve technology in the court system came to the forefront. CBABC asked the government to provide immediate funding to implement the strategy quickly to prevent a further increase in delays for those seeking justice.

Upgrades to the existing system will enable participants to file documents electronically, appear in court by video and/or telephone and allow judges equipped with necessary audio and video equipment to view evidence
and testimony.

Legal Aid Funding

CBABC asked for funding toward legal aid services to increase the scope of family law matters, including child custody and support, spousal support and property division. These services were cut a number of years ago, and impact those most vulnerable in our society. In addition, CBABC asked for funding to provide legal representation to those involuntarily held under the Mental Health Act, based on recommendations made by the Ombudsperson in 2019.

CBABC asked the government to apply the revenue generated from the PST tax collected for legal services to cover these costs.

Indigenous Justice and DRIPA

Lastly, CBABC asked the government to provide continued funding of transformational change and programs to address issues of over-representation of Indigenous peoples in the justice system, and to provide sufficient resources to implement the Declaration of Rights on Indigenous Peoples Act (“DRIPA”). Our members have consistently expressed
ongoing concern about the treatment of Indigenous peoples in our province and the pressing need for change.

Also in June, money was again the topic of conversation as the hearings for the Cullen Commission Inquiry into Money Laundering continued; CBABC is a participant in this inquiry, and will be continuing to represent the position of members as the hearings continue in the fall.

Sections remained very active the past few weeks developing written comments for the review of privacy legislation and the proposed new Uniform Civil Enforcement Money Judgments legislation — a big thank you to our volunteers and their many hours of extra work throughout the summer as they provide the views of members to the government during the current sitting of the legislature!

Be kind, stay safe…