The City of Cold Lake says it is concerned and disappointed over the federal government’s decision to appeal a recent court ruling addressing the backlog of judicial appointments in the federal court systemChantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland conveyed the City’s frustration, saying, “Our court system is bogged down by an increase in crime and large numbers of repeat offenders who take up a significant amount of the court’s time. Add a shortage of judges to the scenario and the situation becomes critical.” 

The court ruling, issued on Feb. 13 in Hameed v. Canada (Prime Minister), 2024 FC 242, directed the federal government to fill judicial vacancies within a reasonable timeline. It emphasized that the government’s failure to do so is impacting Canadians’ access to timely justice.  

Despite this, the federal government has opted to appeal the decision, prolonging the resolution of the crisis in judicial vacancies. 

“The court specifically ordered the appointment of judges to reduce vacancies to at least 2016 levels,” reads information released by the City of Cold Lake, while also pointing to the “untenable and appalling crisis” in judicial vacancies identified by the Chief Justice and Canadian Judicial Council. 

Copeland spoke about the City of Cold Lake’s focus on public safety and crime prevention efforts. The City has increased resources for the Cold Lake RCMP detachment, helped fund a police dog service, and supported a commercial security program.  

However, these efforts are hindered by the lack of an efficient and effective judicial system, according to the municipality. 

“Appointments to the federal court system are a core function of the federal government,” said Copeland. “They need to focus on doing their job rather than fighting our understaffed court system.” 

The City of Cold Lake is considering raising this issue as a resolution at a future council meeting, according to information released by the municipality. This resolution would reflect the urgency and widespread impact of the judicial vacancy crisis on Canadian communities’ ability to ensure safety and uphold the rule of law. 

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 02, 2024 at 09:43

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

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