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Out of order?


As we all know by now, judgment is subjective.

We all use our personal judgment, to varying degrees, every day — deciding whether we can still drive after those two or three drinks, how late we can watch TV while still being able to get up for work the next day, whether to take an extravagant vacation when there are more pressing financial concerns at home.

Our judgment will tell us to put down the glass, go to bed or, perhaps, take a “staycation,” if it’s in our best interest.

On the other hand, sometimes our best judgment fails us and we have to live with whatever consequences we set in motion.

This week, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons was asked for his judgment on giving provincial court judges a 14.5 per cent salary increase. Parsons was less than direct in his response, hedging his bets by saying he has “serious concerns,” but expressing worry the issue could end up in court if government decides not to pay out.

When it comes to the court of public opinion, though, the optics for all involved are terrible as the province struggles to cope with a massive deficit and is eliminating more than 600 public sector jobs this year alone.

A tribunal report into judges’ salaries called for the pay increase, which would include retroactive pay.

But whether judges are underpaid or overpaid shouldn’t even be an issue at this juncture. The recent provincial budget has tasked all of us with making sacrifices — whether it’s through paying more taxes, paying more for goods and services, paying more fees … or all of the above.

Tell the hundreds of government workers who are, or who are soon to be, out of jobs that the province is hiking pay while they’re sending out resumés and see what kind of reaction you get. It would be akin to MHAs passing an ultra-austerity budget while giving themselves pay raises at the same time.

If good judgment were to prevail, both the government and provincial court judges would open their eyes to the current financial state of this province and its people and yield to common sense.

Everyone now has to learn to make due with less than we had before, judges included.

Raising judges’ pay should come, yes, but the timing is difficult to justify at this time.

We all use our personal judgment, to varying degrees, every day — deciding whether we can still drive after those two or three drinks, how late we can watch TV while still being able to get up for work the next day, whether to take an extravagant vacation when there are more pressing financial concerns at home.

Our judgment will tell us to put down the glass, go to bed or, perhaps, take a “staycation,” if it’s in our best interest.

On the other hand, sometimes our best judgment fails us and we have to live with whatever consequences we set in motion.

This week, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons was asked for his judgment on giving provincial court judges a 14.5 per cent salary increase. Parsons was less than direct in his response, hedging his bets by saying he has “serious concerns,” but expressing worry the issue could end up in court if government decides not to pay out.

When it comes to the court of public opinion, though, the optics for all involved are terrible as the province struggles to cope with a massive deficit and is eliminating more than 600 public sector jobs this year alone.

A tribunal report into judges’ salaries called for the pay increase, which would include retroactive pay.

But whether judges are underpaid or overpaid shouldn’t even be an issue at this juncture. The recent provincial budget has tasked all of us with making sacrifices — whether it’s through paying more taxes, paying more for goods and services, paying more fees … or all of the above.

Tell the hundreds of government workers who are, or who are soon to be, out of jobs that the province is hiking pay while they’re sending out resumés and see what kind of reaction you get. It would be akin to MHAs passing an ultra-austerity budget while giving themselves pay raises at the same time.

If good judgment were to prevail, both the government and provincial court judges would open their eyes to the current financial state of this province and its people and yield to common sense.

Everyone now has to learn to make due with less than we had before, judges included.

Raising judges’ pay should come, yes, but the timing is difficult to justify at this time.

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