Forcing Quebec’s Crown attorneys and government lawyers back to work with the promise of a six-per-cent raise over the next five years is about as far away from a winning formula as the Quebec government could get.
By pushing through back-to-work legislation in an overnight session earlier in the week, the Charest Liberals have not won any friends or, more importantly, done anything other than hurt the justice system.
The paltry raises promised the 1,500 striking lawyers, while in line with what other Quebec civil servants will be getting, is a far cry from what they were demanding: a hike of 40 per cent to bring them in line with the national average. Quebec prosecutors’ salaries range from $44,000 to $102,000, while in Ontario they go from $76,000 to $185,000. The back-to-work law also only provides for the hiring of 80 new prosecutors instead of the 200 requested.