Prosecutors protest outside Palais de Justice
Published Monday, February 14, 2011 1:12PM EST
MONTREAL - Crown prosecutors and government lawyers are demonstrating outside Montreal's Palais de Justice on Monday to protest a lack of progress in contract negotiations.
Mediated talks between the provincial government and its 1,400 legal representatives began on Friday, but lawyers say no progress has been made.
They are particularly upset that Premier Jean Charest recently told them the government had no money to provide them with salary increases or to increase the number of lawyers only to announce last week that the government will spend $200 million building an arena in Quebec City.
"The issue is not one of money," said J.D. Gerols. "It's one of having the means to prosecute criminal charges at the, on every level, in a way that's both competent and serves the people."
There are 450 Crown prosecutors in Quebec, along with 1,000 additional lawyers, and they argue they are overworked and underpaid.
Crown prosecutors say their counterparts in other provinces earn an average of 40 percent more.
They also want to see the number of support workers drastically increased, and point out that Ontario has 500 researchers for its 800 prosecutors, while Quebec has only seven.