ALAN FORSETH ... Nearly every story written, about Legal Aid, always shows it in a crisis due to a lack of funding ... WHY?
For many years now, BC's legal aid system appears to be suffering from a shortage of finances, that would allow it to do the job it has tasked with. That litany of financial shortages has been documented for many years, as this brief
Attorney-general rejects claims that BC legal-aid is in crisis (March 8th, 2011)
BC lawyers protest lack of legal aid funding (July 7th, 2014)
BC budget has new money for courts, none for legal aid (Feb 18th, 2015)
... despite a projected budget surplus of nearly $900 million, there is no new funding for legal aid services in the province
The black hole serves a purpose however for the BC Liberal government. It can be buried there until it is needed, and then doled out in glittering media events meant to garner praise for the government.
- in 1992 a provincial sales tax was applied to legal services in BC ... the tax was in the amount of seven percent (7%)
- the government of the day did reference that the revenue from the tax would offset the escalating costs of legal aid
- in 2013 revenue from this tax was approximately $150 million dollars