An open letter to Liberal leadership hopeful, Christy Clark

*** keep checking back in the comments section below this post for new information and documents relating to the years long legal battle of Cambie street business owner Susan Heyes.

This letter was sent to Christy Clark on Monday, February 21st, via email. I am very eager to hear her response now that she desires to be our new premier, and will post one if she responds. Of course Christy, you are always welcome to respond right here on the site !

Hi Christy

One of the most unjust decisions by BC’s Appeal Court happened recently.  The decision puts small businesses in jeopardy, but not by a government from the left this time, but by a government that came to be known as a bully in its approach to progress.

I am enclosing into this message something you wrote about in 2007 regarding the BC Liberals treatment of small business during the construction of the Canada Line.

The recent decision by BC’s Appeal Court denying Ms. Heyes compensation for her losses during the open-pit mining of Cambie Street is an injustice that must be corrected.  If a government truly cared and listened to the appeals of the many small business owners there would have been no need to spends millions on legal fees to prop up their future ability to bully any project through without fully determining impacts to those most affected.

This injustice needs correcting and if the courts can no longer reflect the public good than politicians must do so.  In the US and Europe part of the cost of conducting a project like the Canada Line project is mitigating impacts on those adjacent to the project.  In some cases alterations are made to the project but usually it means compensating those for losses to their businesses.

Unfortunately we have had a government that would rather be seen as a bully and always finds enough bullies in this province to support even decisions it knows will  cripple and/or ruin many small business owners livelihoods.  With an office full of public affairs spin doctors, the Premier can sell dandelion juice as the elixir to happiness.

This must be corrected and you saw the light at the end of the cut and cover tunnel in 2007 and now must make this right…speak up for small business Christy before the leadership election.  You will have several members of your party from small businesses that will appreciate your concern and commitment to make this and other wrongs right.

“That’s not the way it was supposed to work, at least not under the B.C. Liberals. They were supposed to be the people who understood the trials of keeping a small business open on slim margins.”    Christy Clark 2007

Phil Le Good
White Rock, BC

Vancouver Province news – June 10, 2007

By: Christy Clark

The BC Government must support shattered Canada Line storeowners

Back in the 1990s, I used to travel the province pointing to empty shop windows. Those were the days when you could walk down the main street of almost any town in B.C. and see empty shops with “for rent” signs plastered on the windows.

While the rest of North America experienced what was perhaps the biggest economic expansion in history, B.C.’s economy tanked.

And when the economy dips, it’s the little guys who struggle. Hundreds of small businesses drowned in red ink. It was fertile ground for politicians hoping to convince voters that it was time for a change in government.

The B.C. Liberals pitched themselves as the small-business party, and voters gave them a chance to prove it.

The economy isn’t in the stinker anymore. But if you want to remember what those bad old days were like, take a walk down Vancouver’s Cambie Street. It looks a lot like Campbell River’s battered main drag in 1995.

The Canada Line construction through Cambie Village has made it next to impossible to get to those businesses, much less find a parking spot. And if you can find one within walking distance, good luck figuring out how to get around all the fencing!

If you do manage to get inside, you’ll find a shop owner who greets you with a look of both desperation and gratitude. You’ll quickly realize that’s because you’re the only customer they have.

The government says that’s the price of progress. It’s impossible to build a mammoth infrastructure project right through the middle of the urban core without disrupting local businesses. They say it’s too bad if some businesses go broke, but that’s the breaks.

Hold on a second here. That’s not the way it was supposed to work, at least not under the B.C. Liberals. They were supposed to be the people who understood the trials of keeping a small business open on slim margins.

The government is right that once construction is done, business will be brisk along Cambie. Unfortunately, most of the existing business owners won’t be there to reap the benefits. Rents will go up and new tenants will move in. But most of today’s operators will have moved or gone broke.

For anyone who owns one, a small business isn’t just a job, it’s a life’s dream. They risk their life savings, sometimes their homes, on the hope that, if they work hard enough, they’ll make a decent income.

Surely none of them thought that, despite their hard work, it would be a B.C. Liberal government that drove them out of business.

The NDP are championing some relief, and local MLA Gregor Robertson is proposing a tax holiday. It’s a start.

The government should go further. They should offer no- interest loans to bridge the businesses through the many months of construction.

Change always means disruption; you can’t build the biggest infrastructure project in B.C. history without it. But what is disruption for us is the death of a life’s dream for many of those business owners along the line.


Can’t add much more to that other than yes, it is time to make compensations for lost business etc, in cases where projects like the RAV line have the ability to ruin an otherwise thriving business. It should be considered part of the project cost from the beginning. Will Christy Clark stand up for small business in BC that are bullied by the government?

 Time for Ms. Clark to put her money where her mouth is.

Now, scroll down and read some more damning tidbits about the province and our politicians.

13 thoughts on “An open letter to Liberal leadership hopeful, Christy Clark

  1. Clark should put her pink ribbon back on and stand up for Susan Heyes and other Cambie merchants that were bullied by the Campbell government, Canada Line, its
    private partners, and now the appellate court with its patently incoherent reversal of Justice Pitfield’s decision.

    If our elected representatives and officials had even a shred of the courage and character of Ms. Heyes, we would have avoided the mess that was created, and continues to be created, by the cut & cover fiasco.

    Put your high words to the test, Ms. Clark.


  2. Campbell and the BC Liberals talk and promise. However, that’s all they do because, talk is cheap. They never have the intention of keeping their word. You know, the election lie, the BCR wasn’t for sale. The election lie, the HST wasn’t on Campbell and Hansen’s radar.

    The judicial system in BC, is nothing other than a sick joke. Shame on them, for what they did to Susan Heyes. Shame on them, for the farce of the BCR trial. Campbell and the BC Liberals, are all a sick joke. Their lies, deceit, dirty tactics, and corruption, is disgusting. We all have to pull together, to drive this rotten BC Liberal party, the hell out of our province.


  3. I don’t expect to hear a peep out of Christy and any of the other BC Liar leadership hopefuls. They cynically propagandized the small business community and lied to them about bad the NDP was.Of course they had plenty of help from BC’s MSM,who continue to pump the lie about the NDP being bad for business.The fact is the NDP,and the CCF before it,have a long tradition of supporting small business,including small businesspeople being elected as MLA’s. And who’s been shafting small business with the HST and the Carbon Tax? It sure wasn’t the NDP!


  4. NW news this morning told us that, for the first time in three years, the Liberals are ahead in the polls. That’s like saying the people want a Campbell clone to run ’em into the ground some more.
    Do we not care about the abomination of a decision from the BC Court of Appeal on the case Susan Heyes brought against the Canada Line consortium – and can anyone tell us why the City of Vancouver didn’t sue them as well?
    We can’t afford $600,000 for a businesswoman bankrupted by a public/private project?
    But we can afford $6 million to pay the legal fees for self-confessed criminals?
    I think I’ll go rob a bank – I’d get less time in court than Ms. Heyes.
    Have we written off the BC Rail deal?
    Do we buy BC Hydro’s ridiculous claim that it’s increasing our rates to update its infrastructure, when we know the province requires it to pay three times as much for IPP power than it would cost the public utility to produce in-house?
    Don’t we care that St. Paul’s Hospital is crumbling around its ears for want of $600 million while Campbell and his clones build pretty roofs on a stadium, and waste $400 million on going over budget for a convention centre, and set millions aside for the oil and gas industry? etc. etc.
    If we put up with that, then we deserve all we get.
    If not, I wonder if ‘none of the above’ was a polling option?


    1. February 22, 2011

      Dear Laila:

      I am a friend and supporter of Sue and I have written many letters on her behalf since early 2007. On hearing the negative news regarding the appeal I immediately went to the computer again. I am sending a registered copy to each of the three Judges. I hope you will accept it on that basis. Ray Eagle Gibsons, B.C. V0N 1V8

      February 22, 2011

      To: Madam Justice Mary Saunders

      Madam Justice Jo-Ann Prowse

      Madam Justice Kathryn Neilson

      British Columbia Court of Appeal,

      Room 400, 800 Hornby Street,

      Vancouver B.C. V6Z 2C5

      Having read segments of the Judgment in the case of Susan Heyes I am astonished by the colossal ignorance of the facts shown by the panel judges on which they based their negative conclusions. Not only that, but the panel members obviously do not have a single ounce of compassion for Ms. Heyes and what she has gone through over a very long period. The whole tenor of the judgment suggests that the panel had made up its mind to uphold the appeal and then built their arguments around it.

      For that reason the judgment is shallow, firstly in the panel’s understanding of its consequences to future situations where merchants and private citizens are aligned against a government or a government-backed company. The panel has provided both with the freedom and the incentive to ride roughshod over whole neighbourhoods with impunity. Neither did they give any consideration to built-in financial compensation for extreme hardship, of which the Canada Line is a textbook example and is the major issue in this case. Compensation should have been factored into this for-profit mega project from the very beginning. Instead, it is a sickening fact that tens of millions of tax dollars have gone to paying an army of lawyers such as the three judges on the panel, to argue that the government has an absolute right to destroy the livelihoods of small businesses.

      As for the issue of a bored tunnel, certain statements show that they were written with minimal understanding of the facts relating to this much preferred method:

      1:The panel said the construction companies behind the $2-billion megaproject were legally authorized to disrupt Cambie Street to complete the project.

      2:”In short, the Canada Line could not be built without significant disturbance to many citizens’ use and enjoyment of their property.” 3:Justice Kathryn Neilson wrote with the support of Justice Jo-Ann Prowse: ”There was no construction method that provided a non-nuisance alternative in building the Canada Line. I would therefore allow the appeal and set aside the award of damages to Hazel & Co.”

      Who ‘legally authorized’ the construction companies to disrupt the Cambie Street merchants’ livelihood? I have been following the case closely since early 2007 and it is the first time I have heard the phrase ‘legally authorized.’ This authority most certainly did not come from Vancouver City Council, who were kept in ignorance of the switch to ‘cut and cover.’ Was it the Provincial Government? How could it have been when all along the Hon. Kevin Falcon as the Minister responsible, and Premier Gordon Campbell claimed that it was not a Provincial Government project (semantics of course), so why would they give carte blanche to a project that they claim to have no jurisdiction over?

      The panel may not be aware that Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Hon. Carole Taylor, then Provincial Minister of Finance, appeared as witnesses on behalf of Ms. Heyes. It is hardly likely that they would have gone to so much trouble if they had believed for one moment that the weight of the law was firmly on the side of the Canada Line builders.

      As for points 2 and 3 this is where the panel members have parted with logic. How much disturbance is tolerable? The Judgment suggests that a bored tunnel would have been equally as disruptive as the totally unacceptable method actually used, which it clearly is not.

      As for the claim: “There was no construction method that provided a non-nuisance alternative in building the Line . . .” The ignorance shown in this statement is alarming. As I have already said, a tunnel is much less disruptive and this has been proven time and again in many parts of the world. In January 2008 I wrote to Premier Campbell on this particular issue and pointed out that the January 2nd edition of the Globe and Mail contained an article by writer Jeff Gray on the availability of Canadian-made tunnelling equipment, manufactured by Lovat Inc.

      I further pointed out that Lovat tunnelling equipment has been used in Toronto, London, Madrid, Moscow, Istanbul, at least one Chinese city and, of course, Seattle. I find it unbelievable that in Vancouver, bored tunnelling equipment was used in only a small section of the line’s northern end, when in these cities it was used as the major construction method for the whole project.

      The last paragraph in my letter to the Premier stated: “It is bad enough that the merchants were led to believe that a bored tunnel would be constructed for the whole length, but your Government has since steadfastly engaged in a denial of any culpability in the arbitrary decision to set it aside. The lack of action in demanding that this promise be kept by InTransitBC and SNC Lavalin demonstrates a totally cynical and uncaring attitude regarding the welfare of both businesses and residents affected by the construction of this line. By any standard of fairness, you and your Cabinet are guilty of a monstrous injustice. As for the executives of InTransitBC, their callous indifference is beneath contempt.”

      Regretfully, I can only place the three ‘learned’ panel Judges in the same category as the uncaring B.C. Provincial Government Ministers and in the spiteful, mean-spirited action of the executives of the Canada Line Rapid Transit, Inc. and InTranstBC in appealing Ms Heyes’ award. It is even more regrettable that to make their case to fit, Madam Justice Mary Saunders in particular has followed the usual legal pontificating by introducing arguments that have absolutely nothing to do with the hard facts of this case.

      The panel has demonstrated a total disregard for the many people whose lives have been ruined in the construction of the Canada Line. In her search for justice Susan Heyes has shown courage to a depth that the panel members, with their cold indifference to the fate of self-employed independent business people, will never understand.

      I have no illusions that I will get a response to this letter, but I am so disgusted that these shoddy conclusions will most likely stand, it has made me lose faith in the Canadian justice system and I am sure that many, many people will have come to the same conclusion.


    1. Morning everyone! I will be adding letters, documents and emails to this post in particular as they come in, rather than starting a new post each time- unless I get my hands on something really provocative that is !

      This April 4th, 2003 document was entered into the record in court during the trial. It was prepared by RAVCO, to be the basis for the information the City of Van Council voted their conditional approval on the RAV project.
      It was an appendix to the Minutes of a series of special meetings at the city in May.

      Just look at the graph on page 6.
      The colour graph clearly shows that nothing other than a bored tunnel was even contemplated for Broadway to 37th.
      Read their own synopsis page 7 – “Of all alignment types…..” of the difference in impacts from a bored tunnel to open cut trench.

      Page 8 – “ All of the RAV options……”

      Page 9 – “Cut-and-cover options in the RAV proposals are limited to the section between 37th and 49th…..”

      And for some not so comic relief….


  5. This is joke. I read all of this and then I think there is no such thing as justice.Confidentiality agreements?I was reading online some RAV agreements and I saw yes there is no way they can be making this stupid line break even at any time,actually it looks like we will be even more in trouble. If this government can afford to pay shadow fares and shadow tolls and whatever else we dont know about than they can do the right thing now and bow out.I would urge Susan to please fight and we will do all we can to help, as Norman said on that other post.

    Shame. This is embaressing. I hope you post everything here you can Laila


  6. Once again we see that there is a difference between small BC businesses and the off-shore mega predator corps that run the show (incl. press). The mandate of the Liberals is to destroy the infrastructure of the province and to damn the people.


  7. You won’t get an answer. Christy wants to hold 12 townhall meetings a year to “listen to the people”, but if she doesn’t like what you have to say she just ignores it. She’s a joke….


  8. This is shabby treatment for Susan, by the Campbell government. That Campbell has BC in debt by $79 billion, has probably made him more crazy than usual. However, his too bad for you Susan attitude, is not surprising. That is very much his normal personality. He lied twice for two different elections, to make sure he would win. He has no scruples, his word means nothing. I hope Susan does fight for her rights. If there is a fund set up for her, I will help, as, she will be fighting for all of us.


  9. Back in the 1990s, I used to travel the province pointing to empty shop windows. Those were the days when you could walk down the main street of almost any town in B.C. and see empty shops with “for rent” signs plastered on the windows.

    Oh my, if we ever wanted proof Christy doesn’t leave the Lower Mainland, that’s it. It’s not as if the retail economy has prospered in the Interior for the duration of BC Liberal rule; rather the opposite. Doesn’t matter if it’s Nelson or Quesnel or, where I was most recently, Penticton, “for rent” signs are really, really, really common.

    So what is she talking about? Or is she only talking through her hat? Oh yeah – she doesn’t wear hats.


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