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Quebec legal aid lawyers set for four-day strike over equal pay with Crown attorneys

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s legal aid lawyers are striking this week in protest of the government’s salary offer, which they say will lead to an exodus of attorneys who represent the most marginalized.

About 200 legal aid lawyers walked off the job on Monday for a two-day strike, while a separate group of about 210 lawyers are set to strike Wednesday and Thursday. Protests are scheduled across Quebec, including in front of the offices of government ministers and at the provincial legislature.

Legal aid lawyers, who often represent marginalized communities and low-income people, are demanding that Quebec continue the 30-year tradition of paying them the same as Crown attorneys. Quebec is offering legal aid lawyers a two per cent salary increase per year over three years, but it gave Crown prosecutors a 2.5 per cent increase per year over four years starting in 2020.

Daniel Lessard, president of an association representing legal aid lawyers who will strike Wednesday and Thursday, says his members have to fight the government every time their collective agreement expires.

“Crown attorneys get their salary increase and new conditions,” said the president of the Fédération des avocates et avocats de l’aide juridique, on Monday. “And us, we always have … to justify the reason why our work is as difficult and important as the work of Crown attorneys.”

Legal aid lawyer Fabrice Poirier says he recognizes that the 0.5 per cent difference between what was offered to his group and to prosecutors isn’t much, but he questioned why the government won’t make up the gap.

“We represent vulnerable populations such as people experiencing homelessness, people with mental health issues,” Poirier said in an interview on Monday. “We have a role … we mostly want to be seen and recognized. That’s the goal.”

Poirier was one of four legal aid lawyers on Monday at the Montreal courthouse who remained at work to reduce disruptions in the legal system. “We’re usually between 10 to 15 legal aid lawyers working.”

He said at least 11 people had their cases delayed on Monday because of the strike, adding that about 41 people will be affected Tuesday.

“We don’t want our clients to be impacted; this is about recognition,” Poirier said, adding that the effect of the strike could be substantial because legal aid lawyers are required in most courtrooms across the province.

Treasury Board spokesperson Florence Plourde said Monday the work conditions of legal aid lawyers are different than the conditions of Crown attorneys because the two groups are not part of the same collective bargaining system. Legal aid lawyers, she said, are employees of an agency responsible for applying Quebec’s legal aid legislation.

“Legal aid workers are not the government’s employees,” Plourde said Monday in an email.

The agency overseeing legal aid workers — the Commission des services juridiques — declined a request for comment on Monday.

Lessard said the legal aid system is facing labour shortages, as several young lawyers switch over to the Crown because of better pay.

“We want a strong and qualified legal aid system,” he said. “We want to retain high-quality lawyers in the system and one of the ways to achieve this is with parity.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 6, 2022.

— With files from Lia Lévesque in Montreal.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

Virginie Ann, The Canadian Press

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Talkative Giants manager Bob Melvin ejected before first pitch at Colorado

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DENVER (AP) — San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin wasn’t around for the finish Sunday as his team defeated the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

He didn’t even make it to the start, for that matter.

In an unusual scene, Melvin was ejected before the first pitch after he and bench coach Ryan Christensen delivered the lineup card to home plate umpire Alex MacKay.

“I just talked too much,” Melvin said following the Giants’ 3-2 victory. “Umpiring’s a hard job, I’m aware of that, just probably said too much. I didn’t plan that, it wasn’t choreographed. I probably went too far.”

San Francisco was coming off a 4-3 loss to the Rockies on Saturday night and a 7-3 loss on Friday.

Moments after Melvin was tossed, Jorge Soler led off Sunday’s game for the Giants with a 478-foot homer to centre field, the longest in the majors this season.

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LSU cornerback Javien Toviano arrested on accusation of video voyeurism, authorities say

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU sophomore cornerback Javien Toviano surrendered to authorities Sunday on charges of video voyeurism, the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s office said.

Toviano, 19, of Arlington, Texas, is accused of recording himself having sex with a woman without her consent, according to an arrest warrant. The woman told detectives she found videos of the two on Toviano’s iPad that were recorded through a clock with a built-in camera placed near the bed, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The woman told detectives that Toviano had recorded them having sex in the past without her consent and she told him she did not want to be recorded.

Toviano, in an interview with detectives, admitted using a hidden camera to record the sexual encounters, the arrest warrant states.

Bond information was not immediately available. It was unknown if Toviano has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Toviano “has been suspended from all team activities, in accordance with departmental policies,” LSU said in a statement.

“We will not have further comment out of respect for the legal process,” the university said.

Toviano signed with LSU last year. He appeared in every game as a freshman and made three starts over the last five games. He finished his freshman season with 33 tackles and one pass breakup.

LSU begins preseason practice on Aug. 1, and Toviano was expected to compete for playing time at cornerback.

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Beltré, Helton, Mauer and Leyland inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Adrian Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton were pegged as athletic phenoms from a young age and all three lived up to expectations with their induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were so sold on Beltré early on that they broke MLB rules to sign him before he turned 16.

Beltré reached the big leagues just after his 19th birthday and was quickly considered one of the best prospects in sports as a teenager.

In Beltré’s induction speech, he says he played for his first team at the age of 13 and was a second baseman because his dad told him that’s the position he should play.

After a teammate asked him to switch and play third base, Beltré obliged and the decision paid off.

Beltré played 21 years for the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. He became a five-time Gold Glove winner and is the first third baseman with at least 450 home runs and 3,000 hits.

During his playing days, Beltré made it clear that he did not like anyone touching his head so of course, his teammates ignored the request and made a habit of touching his head anyways. At Sunday’s ceremony, fellow Hall of Famer David Ortiz continued the tradition by touching Beltré’s head prior to his speech.

“That never relaxes me,” Beltré said with a laugh. “(But) it was a little cute to go back to my playing days. …It’s just part of being in this fraternity. Even though I don’t love it, I don’t like it, but it felt like I’m open to people to be able to play around with me. I always like that.”

Mauer was a high school phenom in both football and baseball in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was named USA Today’s High School Player of the Year in football in 200 and baseball in 2001.

He was drafted by his hometown Twins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft.

“It was truly an honor to be a (Minnesota Twin) and represent my hometown team,” Mauer said.

The future six-time All-Star catcher spent just three years in the minors before spending all 15 years of his big league career with the Twins.

Mauer finished his career with one Most Valuable Player award, three batting titles and is the only catcher in history with at least 2,000 hits, a .300 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage.

Mauer noted the emotion he felt seeing all the Minnesota fans throughout the weekend.

“It’s not easy to get to Cooperstown and especially with the events that have happened this last week,” he said. “But to see that many Twins fans out there, I just felt the love and I was just hoping that I could deliver the speech that I wrote down.”

Helton was also a football and baseball star and played both sports at the University of Tennessee.

Despite his dominance in both sports at an early age, Helton never felt comfortable in the spotlight or felt like a Hall of Famer.

“Those of you who know me know I’d be more comfortable doing anything other than standing up here talking about myself,” Helton said to open his speech. “I’m just a ball player and anyone in the media can attest to that fact.”

Helton’s claim to fame could have been that he was the quarterback at the University of Tennessee between future first-round draft picks Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning, but he was destined for bigger things on the baseball diamond.

After a knee injury in 1994 paved the way for Manning to become Tennessee’s quarterback, Helton shifted all of his focus to baseball where he was named the winner of the Dick Howser Award by the American Baseball Coaches Association and named Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Helton was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 amateur draft and never left the Mile High City.

After becoming the starting first baseman in 1995, Helton finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and posted a .315 batting average with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He went on to become one of just three players to record multiple seasons with 100-plus extra-base hits in his career and helped the Rockies reach the 2007 World Series.

While Helton began the weekend feeling out of place, the second Rockies Hall of Famer knows he is where he belongs now.

“Just standing back there waiting to go up onto the stage, the guys were so kind, but they all came by and offered me advice,” Helton said. “For me, that was the beginning of feeling that I belong. But we have a players-only dinner tonight and I’ll probably feel like I belong after that.”

Jim Leyland was elected by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee. He managed for 22 seasons, won three Manager of the Year awards, the 1997 World Series, had a 1,769-1,728 career record as a manager and was the manager of the U.S. Olympic team in 2017 when the Americans won their only World Baseball Classic.

Leyland made sure to acknowledge the importance of the fans to the game of baseball.

“No matter which Hall of Famer you’re here to support today, or which team you cheer for, your presence is always felt,” Leyland said. “On your feet in the ninth with the home team clinging to a one-run lead, turning on your television for the first game in the World Series and seeing 50,000 fans hoping and praying that this may be their year, or a little boy or girl getting their first autograph scurrying back to the stands to show mom and dad what they just did. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s you. That’s baseball. And this is the Hall of Fame.”

Beltré led this year’s class with 95.1% of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote in his first year on the ballot. Helton followed with 79.7% of the vote in his sixth year of eligibility and Mauer received 76.1% of the BBWAA vote in his first year.

Other players included on this year’s ballot who fell short of the 75% threshold were Billy Wagner (73.8%), Gary Sheffield (63.9%), Andruw Jones (61.6%), Carlos Beltrán (57.1%), Alex Rodriguez (34.8%), Manny Ramirez (32.5%), Chase Utley (28.8%), Omar Vizquel (17.7%), Bobby Abreu (14.8%), Jimmy Rollins (14.8%), Andy Pettitte (13.5%), Mark Buehrle (8.3%), Francisco Rodriguez (7.8%), Torii Hunter (7.3%), David Wright (6.2%), José Bautista (1.6%), Victor Martinez (1.6%), Bartolo Colon (1.3%), Matt Holliday (1%), Adrián González (0.8%), Brandon Phillips (0.3%), Jose Reyes (0%) and James Shields (0%).

Sheffield was on the ballot for the 10th time without reaching the 75% mark and is no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration. Bautista, Martinez, Colon, Holliday, González, Phillips, Reyes and Shields did not receive the minimum requirement of 5% of the vote and are also no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration.

Joe Castiglione and Gerry Fraley were also honored during Hall of Fame weekend. Castiglione has been the Boston Red Sox radio broadcaster for a record 42 seasons and received the Ford C. Frick Award. Fraley was posthumously honored with the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for his work as a writer. During his career, Fraley covered the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and worked as the national baseball writer for the Dallas Morning News.

___

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