The high-stakes poker game has begun.
The Quebec government is in the midst of tabling back-to-work legislation to end the two-week dispute with provincial crown prosecutors and government lawyers. It appears that Bill 135 will hand lawyers working in the public domain a six per cent increase until 2015, a far cry from the 40 per cent hike sought by crown prosecutors and government lawyers in order to attain parity with provincial and federal colleagues.
In riposte, senior crown prosecutors are resigning from their management positions. Claude Chartrand, Quebec’s chief organized crime prosecutor, set the balling rolling when he tendered his resignation — and so far
ten 40 out of of his 50 colleagues followed suit today. More are expected.
In his letter of resignation to Louis Dionne, director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Chartrand said the province does not have enough prosecutors to proceed against 155 Hells Angels members charged with money laundering in the wake of Operation SharQC, a police crackdown on the biker gang. The SharQC legal team is composed of ten crown prosecutors, a figure that is supposed to be 16.
In the meantime, the provincial legal society, Barreau du Quebec, has denounced the back-to-work legislation.