I was driving home to Kamloops last week and had time to think about a recent article concerning the efficiency and cost of the judges of the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
I think the author of the article may have missed the point.
This year is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta of 1215. If my history lessons learned long ago serve me well, the Magna Carta was a pivotal document in the history of English rights and freedoms. The recognition that one could not be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, except by the lawful judgment of one's equals or by the law of the land, that no one may sell, and to no one deny or delay right or justice and that nothing shall be paid or accepted for the issue of a writ of inquisition of life or limbs, were essential freedoms that remain cornerstones of our civil society today. However, perhaps most important of all, was that the king agreed to appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs or other officials, only those that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.
Our Provincial Court judges know the law and are all minded to keep it well.
I know the Court is concerned about efficiency and I have great confidence that steps are being taken to improve the delivery of justice in this province. However, efficiency is only one consideration when assessing our justice system. We must also take into account the judgments rendered and the rights protected. And by that measure, we here in British Columbia are well served by the competent and independent judges of the Provincial Court.