Susan Heyes "shocked" by "travesty of justice" after Canada Line appeal rejected by Supreme Court
"The legal system has let us down. This is not the Canada I know and love," she wrote in a press release. "This case personifies the worldwide outrage at corporate greed, and abuse of government power."
Heyes has been in a public six-year legal fight to receive compensation from the Canada Line builders after her maternity clothing shop, Hazel and Co., suffered heavy losses from the construction on Cambie Street. Heyes initially won $600,000 in compensation in 2009 after she sued three levels of government, two government agencies and the company working on the line. However, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the award in February.
In an email to the Vancouver Observer, Heyes said that she was "shocked by this absolute travesty of justice". Although her store has since re-located to Main Street, she said that she lost $900,000 and had to remortgage her home due to the disruption caused by the Cambie Street construction work.
In 2004, the prospect of construction along Cambie Street caused Heyes and other business owners to fight the excavation. Heyes and other business owners fought the disruptive excavation, but the construction began in late 2005, causing many businesses to close down before the construction was completed in the fall of 2009.
Below is a press release issued by Heyes in response to the Supreme Court's decision not to hear her case:
Today, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed my application for leave to appeal.
This is a dark day for democracy in Canada. By refusing to hear this case, Canada’s highest court has decided that corporations have more rights than small businesses and citizens.
Small businesses are the economic backbone of our country and are the heart of our communities. The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that we don’t matter.
With this ruling, the Supreme Court has given corporations a blank cheque. It has ruled that corporations undertaking megaprojects in Canada are not legally compelled to tell the truth, even when the consequences for citizens and small businesses are as severe as they were with the Canada Line project.
This decision allows corporations to profit at the expense of citizens and small businesses.
The ruling calls into question the integrity of our judicial system including the ruling of the BC Appeals Court. Cut and cover construction for the Canada Line had been ruled out in the Cambie Village in all the materials made available to the public. Yet the case was overturned, with the project claiming that even though they caused a nuisance, they were authorized by statute to do so.
Under the law, this defence of Statutory Authority can only be used when no other less disruptive option is available, and cost cannot be a factor.
We all know that not only was there a less disruptive option, that of a bored underground tunnel, but it was the project, until the secret switch to cut and cover. A bored underground tunnel was the only option presented to the public for the Cambie Village area.
Corporations should be compelled to tell the whole truth, but the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that small businesses and citizens have no legal right to expect truthful information that would allow them to take measures to protect themselves from harm.
For 6 years, rectifying this colossal injustice has been my priority, in the public domain and through the courts.
The legal system has let us down. This is not the Canada I know and love.
This case personifies the worldwide outrage at corporate greed, and abuse of government power.
We as citizens, must continue to demand that our rights are upheld, against all odds.