Canadians have fashioned a net and set it wide so that any one of us might be spared falling into a life that is hard and hopeless. The net is born of a consciousness that brought forward Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, the Student Loan Program and the Charter. Legal Aid is woven through that net.
Legal Aid ensures that help is available at a critical point. It is the type of help that can take an individual or family out of crisis, map a better way forward and put within grasp the means of transformation.
Legal Aid is the whetstone to the sword of Justice, ensuring that her strokes are measured, efficient and accurate when dealing with wrongdoing. Legal Aid also ensures that her scales are calibrated to take into account the rights and interests of the most vulnerable.
We have evolved from a time when one’s wellbeing and security depended on who had the ear of the King. Through the sacrifice of generations, we have become a society based on the rule of law. We are a society that holds sacred both the blood of those fallen in defence of our values and the ink of statesmen.
Our history teaches us that legal aid is not a charitable endeavour but a necessary enterprise if we are to preserve government based on the rule of law. Without legal aid, those outside the corridors of plenty will come to regard our system of justice, at best, as out of reach or not involving them. At worst, they will hold it in contempt and see it as an instrument of oppression.
Legal Aid ensures that all have access to our justice system. It promotes a society where everybody counts and everybody gets a chance.
The human spirit is the strongest asset in the portfolio of the poor. Legal Aid ensures that asset flourishes in the face of adversity.