Quebec White-collar crimes

Back-to-work legislation looms as negotiations fail

Quebec Premier Jean Charest has summoned all members of the National Assembly to a special session today to enact back-to-work legislation after a negotiated settlement with Quebec’s 1,500 striking Crown prosecutors and government lawyers have stalled, raising the spectre of mass resignations.

“I regret that we are forced to have a special law because the consequences of the absence of the prosecutors is a heavy burden on the system of justice,” Charest said yesterday.

Government lawyers, the lowest paid in the country, are asking for salary parity with their colleagues across the country. Crown prosecutors are also pressing the government to create 200 more positions.

The creation of a new anti-corruption squad, announced last week, in response to allegations of corruption in the construction industry is now in jeopardy. The province’s striking Crown prosecutors said they will not take part in any corruption probes if they are legislated back to work.

Crown prosecutors have described the back-to-work legislation as immoral and irresponsible, pointing out that it would be the second time in five years that the Quebec government has decreed wages and working conditions for crown prosecutors and government lawyers. They are threatening to resign en masse.

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