The testimony of RICHARD gROEN

Time for some testimony from the Government side.

We begin with the testimony of Richard Wade Groen, who has been with the Ministry of Finance for 29 years. Having held assorted Assistant Deputy Minister titles, Groen should be able to tell us something about why and how the Government of Manitoba came up with the plan to sustain public services through legislated wage constraints.

This should be interesting.

Direct Examination – by heather leonoff

Richard Groen became Assistant Deputy Minister- Fiscal Management & Capital Planning for the Treasury Board Secretariat in November, 2018. Before that, and during the development of the Public Services Sustainability Act, he was Assistant Deputy Minister, Finance & Research in the Ministry of Finance’s Financial Research Division. For the bearer of such Orwellian mouthfuls, he’s a pretty friendly guy.

In fact, having Groen lead the Government’s testimony was an excellent choice. There are far too many whiffs of questionable behaviour on the part of the Government of Manitoba. Best to have someone personable, pleasant, and heretofore uninvolved, provide this foundational testimony. A hearty, agreeable chap, with a marvellously deep voice, Groen is a giant teddy bear that gives great hugs (seriously, he’s hugging people).

In any event, testimony …

The Difference between the Treasury Board and the Finance Division

Although both deal with money, the Finance Department and Treasury Board have different roles. Finance is mostly concerned with economic statistics, intergovernmental finances, tax policy (there’s a special group), and economic forecasting. The Treasury Board, on the other hand, is focused on the nuts and bolts – the specifics of government programs and policies, particularly expenditures.

In terms of preparing the Province’s yearly budgets, the Treasury Board deals with the financial consequences of any proposed changes to government programs, while the Financial Research Division provides information on the general economic situation and updates.

I take it from this, and from the testimony we have already heard, that public sector wages, and ideas about controlling those costs are generally a matter for the Treasury Board, and thus the development of the PSSA would have taken place there, two years before Groen joined them.

As the day moves on, I realize that Leonoff is merely going through the Province’s budget documents for the years since 2016, and getting Groen to confirm some of what was in them, as well as to explain some things. There may be other details from those documents which she will be relying on, but if so, we won’t know until we see her final arguments.

For the moment, let’s listen to Groen, and the parts of those documents Leonoff wants to highlight.

the 2016 budget

According to Groen, every change of government requires a wholesale summary and review of the Province’s finances, so that the new Cabinet knows what the status is, and thus can start making plans. After the election in April of 2016, the new Conservative Government of Manitoba wanted to move forward with a new budget immediately.

Finance dug in, and the Budget was delivered on May 31, 2016. In Groen’s words, “this was very, very quick.”

The 2016 Budget Speech – by Finance Minister Cameron Friesen

The big warning in the Budget Speech for 2016 was that the Province’s finances were a mess. According to Minister Friesen, although the previous Government had projected that the deficit would be about $421 million, the new numbers suggested it would be closer to $1.01 billion.

Groen says that while the Finance Research Department would have fact-checked these numbers, the Treasury Board has the final say and signs-off on the number that ultimately appears in the budget.

In addition, the Minister noted that Manitoba’s debt has grown every single year for the past decade, increasing from $10 billion to about $21 billion.

As a result, the new Government was going to focus on getting the Province’s finances back on the right track.

The 2016 Budget Documents

The Budget’s four main policy objectives were:

  1. Reducing the Deficit and Reducing Net Debt
  2. Spending Money Smarter
  3. Affordability for Individuals
  4. Creating Jobs

Sounds good to me, although, except for the second one, a little broad, and vague – spending smarter?

As Groen puts it, “the Government had a number of priorities, and the finance department had a number of tools that were used to achieve them.”

Some of those tools apparently included consolidating departments and reducing the number of cabinet ministers (to achieve savings on bloated administration presumably), dissolving certain administrative bodies – such as the road authority, and reducing the amount of government advertising. (I assume this is to show that the new Government was looking at many ways to reduce spending, and were starting right away.)

After leading Groen through a bit more explanation, Leonoff moves on to the next year.

the 2017 budget

Now that the Government had a year of experience under its belt, it could move on to more concrete and detailed financial goals.

And the big new goal is to return to balanced budgets by the end of their second mandate, an eight-year plan to eliminate the deficit.

All Hands on Deck

It was here that the Government of Manitoba introduced its “all hands on deck” theme as the justification for the Public Services Sustainability Act:

Our civil service is committed to reinvigorating and contributing to the design of a more responsive and efficient government that benefits all Manitobans.

At the same time, we recognize that a significant portion of expenditures in government relate to public service compensation.

If we are to work together to return our books to balance and chart a sustainable path for future generations, then we must all contribute to that goal.

In practical terms, the financial argument for the PSSA goes like this:

  1. Public services salaries are the biggest expense in the Budget.
  2. An increase of 1% in wages across the board represents an increase of approximately $100 million in spending. (It’s not entirely clear how they arrived at this number, but it seems to be merely an estimate in any event.)
  3. Therefore, we need to control wage increases, in order to control spending, in order to reduce the deficit, in order to balance the budget.

Other Ways to Save

The 2017 Budget Documents also emphasize that they have many measures planned to cut costs, not just limiting spending on public sector compensation (which is Orwellian mouthful speak for – freezing the wages of all public sector employees).

The Government already reduced red tape in 2016. And they are again reviewing and/or cancelling capital projects to reduce expenditures in this budget year.

All in all, the Government has identified 11 different areas of opportunities for savings, “with savings estimated at over $100 million if all recommended actions are successfully implemented.” These are:

  1. Rationalization of management and backoffice functions resulting from departmental reorganization
  2. Reduction of communications expenditures
  3. Modernization of procurement across government
  4. Reduction of targeted tax credits
  5. Reduction of direct support programs to business
  6. Asset management planning and rationalization, including real estate
  7. Organizational and process transformation in Manitoba Families
  8. Funding for schools and the post-secondary education sector
  9. Capital project management and delivery
  10. Justice system reform
  11. Review of agencies, boards and commissions

If you are like me, you have no idea what most of this means. But Groen gave an interesting example around #2 and #3 of how the Government can work to reduce its communications costs by negotiating bulk, and thus better, deals with its IT and cellular providers. (Actually, it wasn’t that interesting, but it made me think about how governments participate in these sorts of markets, something which I will riff on in the next Aside: A No-Compete Treat for the Labour Market.)

I am sure that the budget numbers support some indication of fiscal concerns. But I kept wondering, during this year especially, if the Government had all this information, and was looking for solutions, why they didn’t share it with Labour in the Fiscal Working Group meetings? As far as I can tell, it was exactly this kind of information and explanation of the problem and that unions were looking for, and presumably they could have helped in finding savings in these 11 areas, and possibly others as well.

the 2018 budget

So, the 2018 Budget is more of the same, and I’m starting to fade. No, don’t take me to another year’s section on “Economic Review and Outlook” or “Supplementary Financial Information” or “Tax Credits” (noooo, not the tax credits). Except suddenly I start paying attention to taxes. Wanna know why?

It’s because now we start getting into how the Province was reducing some personal income taxes, as well as planning to reduce the P.S.T. from 8% to 7% before the end of the fiscal year. But, I’ve been listening to the description of the Government’s approach to financial management. Over the years, it has morphed from:

Financial Management Strategy (in the 2016 Budget);

→ to Restoring Fiscal Discipline (in the 2017 Budget);

→ to Fiscal Responsibility Strategy (in the 2018 Budget).

Yet, it doesn’t seem to me to be that disciplined or responsible to be reducing taxes when you want to save money to pay down your debt, especially when you factor in their plan for adding more and more millions to the Province’s Rainy Day Fund.

→ I’m going to pay off all my debt, increase my savings, and take a pay cut. Guess I’ll starve.

I mean, yeah, if you are cutting costs you can do it, but I’m not sure why you would, because it just means you have to cut even more to make up for everything else. But then, what else do you cut?

I just don’t understand it. If you are serious about getting the deficit down and paying off the Province’s debt, it doesn’t seem sensible to be reducing tax revenue and putting $50 million a year into the Rainy Day Fund. Don’t put it in savings – pay off the debt!

Besides, and what seems to highlight the unfairness in this context, you claim your whole reason to restrict public sector wages is to “sustain” the quality of public services Manitobans have come to expect. But, with respect, perhaps if you weren’t going around reducing tax revenues when you say you need money, you wouldn’t be putting those public services at so much risk.

CROSS-EXAMINATION – by garth smorang

We’ve all had a night to ponder those questions, and the cross-examination of Richard Groen starts first thing the next day. Before court starts, I look around and note down “Garth is merry, and don’t think it is the season.” No, indeed, I think in fact that there is some other reason.

Since this is the first witness for the government, his opponents, this is the first time we get to see Garth Smorang on cross-examination. Good-natured Gregarious Garth is gone, and in his place?

O.M.G. surprised

It wouldn’t be so shocking if Gregarious Garth wasn’t so tenaciously amiable and relentlessly jovial. He reminds me of The Friendly Giant (he’s a very tall man, and broad like Paul Bunyan), and so much so that I keep thinking that any minute now he’s going to say “look up, look wa-a-a-y up, and I’ll call Rusty,” and then he’ll play the recorder and tell us a story.

But when Smorang-the-Smasher flips on, he takes a couple of steps in a mini pre-battle dance, and you can almost hear the chainsaw motor rev up – bbrrrrrmmmmm. It’s a little frightening.

Lawyers, like Garth, who litigate (go to court all the time), often have this split personality – switching from their nice-guy Dr. Bruce Banner alter ego into their version of a raging Hulk when required. It’s because in litigation, and especially on cross-examination, it becomes convenient, for those who have them, to crank the volume on all the knobs on the dark side of their personality up to HIGH

I liked to play the silent assassin, slipping in under cover of “I’m just a happy-go-lucky girl from Saskatchewan.” And then I’d sneak up real close, look into your eyes and grin, while I stuck the knife in, and then slashed open wide. cool (She’s retired.)

Shannon’s a hammer. A perfectly polished implement that makes perfectly shaped points by pounding perfectly round pegs into perfectly round holes – thwack, thwack, thwack. Next. 

Heather, of course, prowls and growls when she’s on, but is more kindly grandmother than anything else when she’s not.

And I think Ladyka, and the Michaels (Bodner and Conner) are too nice to have dark sides, lucky for them – less internal conflict.

Lawyers are weird.

Creating the budgets – numbers and content

Smorang-the-Smasher wants to know where words like “correcting the course”  come from. Groen says they are chosen by the politicians; the civil servants act merely in an advisory capacity as opposed to decision-making. While the Finance Department may bring forward a menu of how to achieve goals, the Minister of Finance decides what those goals are, and chooses which tool on the menu to be used.

Groen also confirms that in the 29 years that he has worked for Finance, there have always been budgetary concerns, there has always been debt and worries about how much it costs to service it, and that governments across the country, including the Canadian Government itself, routinely carry debt. (I expect that this will be used to argue that the course Manitoba was on wasn’t that unusual, and thus wasn’t that in need of correcting.)

Groen also admits that while the Minister of Finance meets with his Deputy and Assistant-Deputy Ministers on a regular basis, the Minister of Finance doesn’t always take their advice. For example, Finance told the NDP government that they needed a referendum to raise the PST, but the government ignored them.

In any event, when Smorang asks whether sometimes the Government doesn’t even ask for Finance’s advice at all, Groen says, yes it does happen, although it’s exceptional.

In terms of giving certain numbers, for forecasting especially, there are typically relatively wide ranges. It is up to the Minister to decide which number to actually use. Finance merely checks to see whether it fits within their reasonably projected range. As a result, Groen admits, the numbers could vary as widely as a projected surplus of $200 million, or a deficit of $200 million, and it would be up to the Minister to decide which number within that range they want to pick.

budget documents

Now we get to wander back through the same Budget Documents Heather took Groen through, this time though so that Smorang can point out their problems, as opposed to their plusses.

A Question of Hyperbole

Smorang asks whether it is fair to say that budget documents generally tend to contain political statements, especially ones that are critical of former governments.

Smorang: The Finance Department provides facts, it does not concern itself with hyperbole, right?

Groen:       I like to think that I’ve lasted 29 years in government by avoiding hyperbole. (Everyone laughs.)

Still, the point is made. Although Finance is always there to provide data and advice, Groen agrees that certain assertions and conclusions made by governments in the bidget documents, e.g. when tooting their own horn, or comparing themselves to their predecessors, aren’t fact-based financial analysis, but rather political spin.

the 2016 budget

In an immediate follow-up to the hyperbole point, Smorang highlights language in the 2016 Budget that were political choices, not conclusions of the Finance Department:

  1. The title of the Budget Speech – “Correcting the course”
  2. From the first paragraph of the Speech – “Getting Manitoba back on a responsible fiscal track and protecting front-line services, while eliminating the wasteful government spending that has set our province on a dangerous fiscal path.”
  3. Further on down:” Over the last decade, budget expenditures were exceeded every single year under the previous government. The consequences of such a reckless but consistent pattern are alarming. And will create impacts well into the future.”

Lower Taxes?

I may have missed it, but I don’t remember Leonoff saying anything about how the new Government of Manitoba was planning to reduce taxes even as early as their first budget. But Groen confirms it – even in their first budget, they were planning on reducing some personal income taxes and budgeting for a resulting $24 million in lost revenue. 

As I’ve said before, it seems a little odd to be reducing your tax revenue when you are claiming that you are so seriously broke. Smorang makes the point with a couple of rhetorical questions like – reducing taxes and providing better services at the same time, huh?

Development of the pssa

As Smorang reviews the history of the development of the Public Services Sustainability Act, we find out that:

  1. The Public Services Compensation Committee came up with the 0, 0, 0.75, 1% pattern. not Finance; Groen is not sure whether Finance was even consulted.
  2. There was no financial data prepared to support the need or the savings that would be achieved from the sustainability pattern being enforced (Groen says that his department didn’t do it, he is not aware of any such calculations being done, but adds “that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.” Actually, in this context, it does mean it didn’t happen, because if it had, the Government would have had to tell us all about it by now.)
  3. Decisions like who was to be covered, what the rates would be in the 3rd and 4th years, were made by the PSCC; Finance was not, to Groen’s knowledge, consulted.
  4. Irving and Stevenson settled on the 0.75 and 1% increases for the 3rd and 4th years themselves; Finance didn’t do any research for them.
  5. Although Finance could have looked at teachers’ salaries, and bargaining histories to get an idea of the costs and how much might be saved, they didn’t (I assume they weren’t asked).
  6. Finance didn’t do any calculation of savings on any of the collective agreements that might be affected by the PSSA it seems.

Ok. So nobody in Finance did nothing to even investigate whether the PSSA was necessary, nor determine how much it might save.

the 2017 budget

There’s actually a lot that Smorang goes into in detail about on the 2017 Budget, but since I don’t have the documents in front of me, it is hard to make sense of it. This is probably yet another gap I will have to fill in once we get to final arguments.

However, I do notice that again that the government seems to be planning to put an awful lot of money into the Province’s Rainy Day Fund. Yes, I see that it is somewhat underfunded, but I’m not sure how putting $10 million, $50 million, $50 million into savings over three years jives with the supposed financial challenges the Province is facing.

And, yet again, there is another admission, this time in respect of the PowerPoint presentation the Minister of Finance made to Labour at the first Fiscal Working Group meeting, that no one did any calculations to determine how much increases in public sector wages would cost the Province (and therefore had no idea how much they needed to save).

the 2018 budget

The main event here is the curious case of the continuing tax cuts. “It’s the largest tax cut in Manitoba history”, Minister Friesen says. Smorang asks Groen if Finance fact-checked this. Groen says yes. (I’m guessing that’s wrong.)

But in any event, it’s a little odd in the context. There continues to be a lot of “the sky is falling” type gloom and doom about Manitoba’s finances – debt-servicing costs and the size of the deficit, (and presumably this what they are going to rely on to justify the Public Services Sustainability Act), and this is the time when Manitoba decides it needs less money coming in?

During a break

During a break, while we are waiting for court to resume, someone tells Richard Groen what I am doing there.

“Are you writing a blog about this case?” he says with happy amusement as he runs over to me.

“Yes I am,” I reply. “And you are doing a really great job for being one of the bad guys.”

Realizing that now he probably does not want to be talking to me, Groen gets a little nervous and starts looking for a way to make a polite exit. But I go on before he can …

“They did a good job getting someone like you to come and talk about all this,” I say, implying that the “all this” is some seriously shoddy behaviour.

Groen looks over at the Government side, and then leans over and lowers his voice, and says:

“It’s part of my job description → and duties as assigned.”

With that, he escapes.

the 2019 budget

Again there is lots here, but what sticks out is the $407 million being deposited into the Rainy Day Fund. What? You were only planning on $50 million this year? I thought all our public sector employees needed to take less money because a 1% wage increase = $100 million in expenditures. But you people have been doing such a great job that you have an extra $357 million to play with – and you put it into savings?

Oh yes, and of course, let us not forget that we are again reducing taxes, this year by lowering the PST by 1%.

So it’s one (decrease taxes by the biggest amounts ever) plus 2 (put more and more millions in the Rainy Day Fundequals 3 (now what, make sure we have to save that much more?) I don’t understand.

Interesting note on the PST and the deficit. Smorang gets Groen to agree that if the Government hadn’t reduced the PST in 2019, even on the Government’s own numbers and projections, Manitoba’s deficit would have been zero, i.e. eliminated, and we would have been back to balanced budgets by the 2020/21 fiscal year.

sustainability budgeting for a hypothetical family

This Government likes to make budgets relatable by referring to how us regular Manitobans manage our finances. So, let’s see what this type of budgeting would look like if this was a hypothetical family.

FAMILY BUDGET TO SUSTAIN HOUSEHOLD SERVICES

Our household is in trouble, all hands on deck. Our spending is out of control and we have too much debt. We must take measures to correct the course so that we don’t continue on this dangerous fiscal path.

Since we have to save money, and since food is our biggest expenditure, I know how to save. The kids just won’t eat, one day a week. Think of all the extra time and money we will save on not making those meals or cleaning them up. That’s just great.

But, by the way, Mom and Dad are tired of working so hard, so they each want to cut their hours and work one less day a week. And you know, we haven’t put anything in our Rainy Day Fund for awhile, so let’s stock that up too.

Hmmm, guess that means the kids are going to have to take a “pause” on eating every day, and increase their fasting to three days a week.

But don’t worry. if the kids can come up with some suggestions that result in more savings, then, the Parental Treasury, in their absolute discretion, may designate a portion (but no more than half) for buying sustainability snacks during the last six months of the year.

We are moving our family forward with the help, and we thank them, of our children.

Hey look, we’ve saved all this money. Let’s not feed the kids, or pay off our mortgage. Nope. Let’s put it all into our Rainy Day Fund in case the car breaks down or we want to take an extra nice vacation. And oh, by the way, because we did that, we’re still in a deficit, and will have to borrow more.

It might be fiscal management, but it doesn’t seem to be that responsible.

a questionable conclusion

What struck me the most about Richard Groen’s testimony was what wasn’t there. Sure, the Budget Speeches and Budget Documents were filled with all sorts of alarming declarations about looming financial disasters,  but I would have thought that the purpose of the Government’s testimony at this point would have been to prove it.

Where are the calculations that show the fiscal emergency? Where is the evidence that as a result of this precarious position the Province of Manitoba is suffering or will suffer financially? Where are the details that demonstrate how much needs to be saved, and how the PSSA and other measures would make those savings happen?

If the sky is falling, you would expect to see some debris.

There may have been some legitimate financial concerns, although they don’t appear to have been that exigent or that unusual.

But even if you had some legitimate concerns, then so what? Groen is right, you have all these tools. So why, praytell, didn’t you use the legal ones?

If the Public Services Sustainability Act is unconstitutional, then it is illegal, and as a means of saving money, it’s just an illegal way to save.

The Trial Begins

Setting the scene in Courtroom #210 as the trial of MFL v. Manitoba begins. We get some background and meet the players.

Opening Statements

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 Testimony of Kevin Rebeck

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.

Passed but Not Proclaimed?

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?

The Testimony of Elizabeth Carlyle

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.

The Testimony of Dr. Mark Hudson

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.

The Testimony of Tom Paci

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?

Indirect Taxing & Discriminatory Taxation

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 Testimony of Michelle Gawronsky

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.”

The Super Six Speak

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.

Labour’s Collective Bargaining Expert

Dr. Robert Hebdon testifies about the impact of the PSSA on collective bargaining in Manitoba’s public sector. It isn’t good.

The Testimony of Sheila Gordon

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.

Labour’s Read-ins and One Last Reveal

You never know what read-ins from discovery might reveal.

The Testimony of Richard Groen

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 …

A No-Compete Treat for the Labour Market?

I don’t understand why the government doesn’t think it should have to compete in its own labour market. It does everywhere else.

The Testimony of Garry Steski

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.

Bean Counters, Businessmen & Business of Government

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?

The Government’s Collective Bargaining Expert

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.

The Testimony of Aurel Tess

How a short day of seemingly tedious technical testimony on Manitoba’s Summary Financial Statements turned into a most unpleasant surprise.

Politicizing the Provincial Comptroller

Ok, Manitoba. Politicizing the Office of the Provincial Comptroller?

That takes the poop-cake.

The Government’s Economics Expert

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?

Labour’s Economics Expert

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.

Bye Bye, Dumbo

Let’s take one last look at the Elephant in the Room, and then say goodbye.

The Mandamus Application

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.

Decision on the Mandamus Application

Justice Keyser, the judge on the Mandamus Application, has spoken. Here’s a hint – MGEU wins.

Bill 9: We’re Gaming Again …

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 Final Argument

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 …

Butt-First Buffoonery

How did the Government of Manitoba get to such an embarrassing PSSA place? They backed into it.

The Government’s Final Argument

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.

Labour Replies

The Finale of the Finale. Labour replies.

(This means we are finally done. At least with the evidence and arguments.)

The Onion of Outrage

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 Decision is In!!!

The Honourable Justice Joan McKelvey has ruled. Labour won. The PSSA is unconstitutional.

This is what she decided and why.

What Have We Learned?

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.