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Fighting back against Doug Ford’s legal aid lies

A fair justice system should not be reserved for the rich and well connected. This is why every lawyer at Abergel Goldstein & Partners accepts legal aid. It is our job and out duty to make sure everyone in Ontario has access to justice.

We fight for every client. It does not matter if you are charged with drunk driving, sexual assault, or murder – we make sure everyone we help get a gold star defence.

And we will always stand up for Ontario’s legal aid system. That is why we were so disgusted when Doug Ford slashed funding to Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) by 30 per cent. And to make matters worse, the $133 million cut took effect immediately – there was no advanced notice – despite the fact that LAO’s 2019 budget had already been finalized.

The impact of Ford’s cruel cuts was staggering. Community legal clinics, which provide assistance to some of Ontario’s most marginalized people, were forced to roll-back services and close offices. Funding for indigenous specific sentencing submissions was slashed by more than 50-percent. And rollbacks to criminal court services sparked a crisis in the justice system.

More and more people who can’t afford a lawyer are being denied legal aid. This has to stop. Everyone has the right to a lawyer.

Last April, Doug Ford called into a Toronto radio station to defend his government’s cuts to the legal aid system. The boiling public backlash seems to have gotten under his thin skin and at the end of that impromptu call Ford said that, “if anyone needs support on legal aid, feel free to call my office. I will guarantee you that you will have legal aid.”

We knew this is a lie. AGP partner Michael Spratt decided to call Ford on his deception. He wrote Ford every day asking for help for clients who were denied legal aid. And when Ford did not respond he used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain secret government documents that showed Ford never intended to follow through on his guarantee.

This is how we roll at AGP. We never stop fighting. We never back down.

The impacts of Ford’s legal aid cuts are creating unfairness in Ottawa and across the province. We call on Doug Ford to do the right thing. Stop deceiving the public. Reverse your legal cuts. And make our justice system fair again.

For more on the Ontario’s legal aid mess and the disastrous results of Ford’s funding cuts check out Michael Spratt on CBC Metro Morning:

If you have been charged in Ottawa or anywhere in Eastern Ontario give us a call.. And for the right case we will appear anywhere in Ontario. We accept legal aid  Initial consultations are confidential and always free.

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