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The Globe and Mail

Canada's justice system staggering under weight of federal reforms: bar association

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has dodged a call from the Canadian Bar Association for a review of federal legal aid funding.

The association's National Council passed a resolution at the group's annual conference in Vancouver calling for a commitment from Ottawa on funding.

Dan MacRury, chairman of the group's national criminal justice section, says the Conservative government's criminal justice reforms are increasing demand on a system that was already taxed.

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Mr. MacRury asked Mr. Nicholson for the review during his appearance at the conference in Vancouver — but he didn't get the answer he was looking for.

The federal justice minister says the Conservatives have increased legal aid funding by $30-million over their tenure, and have maintained funding even in these times of fiscal restraint.

Mr. Nicholson also defended his government's criminal justice reforms, saying they target the right people and aim to help victims of crime.

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