Setting the scene in Courtroom #210 as the trial of MFL v. Manitoba begins. We get some background and meet the players.
Category: The Story
Sit back, relax, and I'll tell you the story of the trial of The Public Services Sustainability Act.
There are two ways to view: (1) the main blog, all posts, all the way through, or (2) just the trial, or just the asides.
A caveat or two.
I'm following the order of the witnesses as they showed up. In order to fit everybody's schedule in, they bounced around a little.
For the most part, I have paraphrased what people said. I'm not a stenographer, I don't have the transcripts, and I wouldn't want to work through them anyway. So, this isn't exact. I'm just giving you the gist.
And, finally, there was only ever one smart-ass in the room, and that was me. So, in case I don't make it clear, if you see a smart-ass comment, you can be sure it is mine.
Everything together, all the way through
(Start to Finish).
The proceedings begin with opening statements. Here, the lawyers for each side give us an outline of the course they are going to take (and why it is going to take 13 days to get there).
The President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour testifies about consultations between the government and some Labour leaders prior to the PSSA being passed. They weren’t very fruitful, and there seems to have been some question as to whether the government was being truthful.
Why is the government waiting to proclaim the PSSA? I thought there was a financial emergency, and dire warnings of our precarious fiscal position. But it has been 2 1/2 years. Don’t they need it yet?
Elizabeth Carlyle gets cross-examined about what happened in a negotiation between CUPE and the Winnipeg School Division. It wasn’t a lot, and it doesn’t sound as though it was very good.
Remember when the faculty at the University of Manitoba when on strike in November of 2016? Dr. Mark Hudson is here to tell us why it happened. And he fills us in on what was happening between the University and the Province behind the scenes.
Tom Paci appears on behalf of the Manitoba Teachers Society. His story? A quest for justice for Manitoba’s 15,000 teachers and an appeal to the gods of justice – how can we be bound by the PSSA when it is not law?
If a tax by any other name would be as taxing, could wage freezes be indirect taxation? And if members of public sector unions are paying more in taxes to support public services, would this qualify as discriminatory taxation?
The leader of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union recounts her experiences since the advent of the PSSA. Everything she says about her automatic approach to understanding concerns and finding ways to solve problems makes me think ” leader, leader, this is a great leader.”
Six experienced union negotiators come to tell us about what has been happening in their collective bargaining worlds. We learn more about what the PSSA means for public sector unions and their collective agreements.
Dr. Robert Hebdon testifies about the impact of the PSSA on collective bargaining in Manitoba’s public sector. It isn’t good.
We end the union tales of collective bargaining under the PSSA in passed-but-not-proclaimed limbo with MGEU’s GEMA. Sheila Gordon, MGEU’s senior negotiator was there. And she is here to tell us how those negotiations did not go anywhere.
You never know what read-ins from discovery might reveal.
Richard Groen, an Assistant Deputy Minister from the Ministry of Finance, testifies about the Province’s budgets and such.
I was expecting him to demonstrate what all the financial fuss in 2017 was about, you know, why our financial ship was sinking so much that we needed all hands on deck. But …
I don’t understand why the government doesn’t think it should have to compete in its own labour market. It does everywhere else.
Is it wrong to admit that before this I didn’t really know what a bond market was? Well, I do now, and we learn a little about how Manitoba’s bonds were affected by the fiscal challenges in 2016. Or not.
If businessmen go into government to bring the principles of good business to government, then shouldn’t they act like good businessmen when they get there?
It is best to talk about what happened here as little as possible. So we’ll talk a bit about the importance of turkey instead.
How a short day of seemingly tedious technical testimony on Manitoba’s Summary Financial Statements turned into a most unpleasant surprise.
Ok, Manitoba. Politicizing the Office of the Provincial Comptroller?
That takes the poop-cake.
The government’s economics expert, Dr. Livio Di Matteo, has a motto he lives by: Agimus Meliora – Let us do better.
It makes me wonder, Manitoba, can’t we do better than the PSSA?
Dr. Eugene “the Earnest” Beaulieu testifies that the PSSA is not only not necessary, it is a harsh measure that puts an unfair burden on public employees.
Let’s take one last look at the Elephant in the Room, and then say goodbye.
A day of argument about whether a statute that says “the Minister SHALL FORTHWITH” means that the Minister can decide not to do something and make up his own reasons for why he shouldn’t.
Justice Keyser, the judge on the Mandamus Application, has spoken. Here’s a hint – MGEU wins.
Before we begin all the good stuff, Garth Smorang has some objections to yet another litigation game the Government of Manitoba is playing.
Labour’s last stand. Shannon-the-Hammer and Smorang-the-Smasher pull it all together and wrap it all up.
There is an awful lot of it, so Labour’s final arguments have been separated into four separate posts, which start here …
How did the Government of Manitoba get to such an embarrassing PSSA place? They backed into it.
Forget the Elephant-in-the-Room.The Government of Manitoba has got many other ways to try to move the goalposts, as they try to change the game.
Kind of seems like they know they are losing.
The Finale of the Finale. Labour replies.
(This means we are finally done. At least with the evidence and arguments.)
Why am I here? Why spend so much watching lawyers and judges and reading endless cases? It’s a pretty simple answer.
I was mad.
The Honourable Justice Joan McKelvey has ruled. Labour won. The PSSA is unconstitutional.
This is what she decided and why.
There’s lots to discover from considering Justice McKelvey’s decision, and not just for labour lawyers. Let’s take a look at what we have learned.
JUST THE TRIAL
JUST THE ASIDES