Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cambie merchant’s battle raises questions about justice

Barry Artiste, Op/Ed

Some may noticed I tagged this story as a Crime, well after spending some time listening to Susan Heyes about her trials and tribulations concerning her ongoing legal battle with the Translink and their private partners, this is truly a Crime of 5 Ring Olympic Circus Proportions.

You see, Susan Heyes for the last four years has been singlehandedly fighting an uphill battle against some of the most arrogant government and corporates imaginable.

It all began 4 years ago when British Columbia’s Liberal Government under Premier Gordo “whats in it for me” Campbell , were looking towards hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics for a mere couple of weeks.

The BC Government decided to run an underground transit line a couple of kilometers from the Richmond airport to downtown Vancouver, so well heeled Olympic visitors can get to and fro from the airport to downtown Vancouver.

Problem is no one in Government seemed to think this would not be a problem for Merchants profitability.    One can see the Stupidity and Incompetence of a Government, Hell Bent on seeing this 4 year underground transit line project to run all along the Cambie street corridor, regardless of Merchant concerns that area businesses will fail if their lifeblood depends on traffic, parking, sidewalks and most of all customers!

Four years of Transitway Construction pretty much spelled a Death Knell to all businesses along this corridor as predicted by all, except the BC Government. 

So many British Columbians foresaw all manner of incompetance and potential cost overuns concerning all these Olympic Construction projects, wondered what the Hell is Gordo yammering about, when his Public Relations “chair moisteners” announced this new Transitway 4 years ago, and later slapped BC with the Laughable and Inane slogan that “BC is the Bestest Place in the World to Live”, and The No.1 place to do business.

Number 1 place to do business?  For one Merchant affected by one Olympic Project, Susan Heyes seemed to be the one of many to have a different view!  Susan’s ongoing concerns fell on deaf political "Dumbo sized ears", because anyone “Unclued on the Concept of Business 101” who blatantly proclaim to the world that “BC is the No.1 place in the world to do business”, never endured the wrath of Government incompetence and arrogance when a lone merchant questions herself, maybe I missed that part of Business 101 “That says closing off a main thoroughfare to public traffic for 4 years is Great for Business”?   Susan is still waiting for that answer, and so is the judge who awarded Susan $600,000.00 for loss of business revenue, only to have all parties concerned appeal this court’s decision.

Susan by the way kept meticulous records of her profit and loss statements as well as tax records for those years that proved to the courts that $600,000.00 is a pittance award when you base it over 4 years of continued losses of revenue which coincides once the shovel hit the pavement on the Cambie Street Corridor. Insane as this sounds the BC Government and their corporate partners dispute her tax records being too profitable! What the F&*k???  "The BC Government seemed to have no problem disputing her tax payments to the government for all these years". 

So it begs the question if you feel Susan lied about making BIG PROFITS over the years, and paid her business taxes on those BIG PROFITS during the 4 years.  How about giving her tax monies paid to you?   I mean come on!  How many people overstate and inflate their salaries, yet alone Profits every year to the Government?  Okay, Maybe Ned Flanders, but then he is a cartoon character on the Simpsons, and that is Fantasy, much like the BC Governments knowlegde on Business ethics and slogan as BC is the “Bestest Place in the World to Live and Do Business”!   So I ask the BC Government, "When can Susan expect to recieve a "Whopping Big Tax Rebate" for grossly overstating her Profits for 4 Years?    Boss, Da Plane, Da Plane!!  (Fantasy Island reference) Yeah, Right, we all know once the Government cashes your income tax the check, they validate that they accept your profit and loss for that year, otherwise a red flag gets waved and you are audited, audited for underestimating your earnings, never stating you have exceeded your earnings.

 What’s next for Susan? It seems the parties involved want Susan to mortgage her home equal to the award amount ($600,000.00) in case the ruling is overturned and Susan has to repay the award amount in full, plus interest.

So goes the Government Slogan “BC is the Bestest Place in the World”  certainly rings true, if your business is bankrupting Taxpaying Merchants.    Guess it will be a Cold Day in Hell before the Governments admits they really have no answer to the question Susan didn’t get concerning Business 101.


Anyone know the answer, cause Susan would really like to know, as would most Business Acedemia?


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We’re taught in Canada that justice is blind, that all of us have a fair chance in the courts, which won’t discriminate for or against the rich or the poor.


It’s why the blindfolded goddess of justice — Themis — holds balanced scales in a prominent place in the main lobby of Vancouver’s courthouse.


But is justice blind for British Columbians seeking remedies in the civil courts? Or is it weighted in favour of the affluent?


Those are the troubling questions raised by Cambie Street businesswoman Susan Heyes’s continuing fight to survive the devastation of the Canada Line construction. They’re the same questions lawyer Peter Ritchie asked last winter when his clients — family members of a victim of the Queen of the North ferry sinking — settled their case because they didn't have enough money to go to court.


Heyes is the feisty maternity-wear designer, manufacturer and retailer, who took on TransLink and the public-private partnership that is building and will operate the rapid transit line from downtown to Richmond and the airport.




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