A former Cambie Street merchant is calling for financial help as she tries to take her fight over compensation for losses related to Canada Line construction to the country's highest court.
In 2009, Susan Heyes, owner of the maternity-wear store Hazel & Co., won a B.C. Supreme Court decision that held TransLink, Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc., and InTransit B.C. Limited Partnership liable for nuisance.
But, in February of this year, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the previous ruling, which had awarded Heyes $600,000 in damages.
Today (April 15), Heyes announced that she has filed for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, and she plans to represent herself in court.
Heyes issued the following statement:
I have just filed for leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada as a self represented litigant.
Contributions can be made to the Susan Heyes Legal Defence fund : Royal Bank – account # 07200 – 5076666
I have no means to pay further huge legal fees to take this case to the Supreme Court of Canada, but as a citizen and a small business owner, I can’t afford not to. This is an issue of national importance with the potential to impact any small business in Canada.
The ruling of the BC Appeals Court, if not overturned, would mean that any small business in Canada in the path of a mega-project could suffer severe financial hardship or bankruptcy, without any legal obligation to tell the truth or to provide restitution, on the part of those responsible.
In this case of the P3 model for the Canada Line, this project has even been provided with the powers and funding of every level of government, to profit at the expense of the small businesses. This is unjust and unfair.
I began this fight for justice and compensation six years ago. I have mortgaged my home twice to keep my business viable. $300,000 of the $600,000 award plus costs, was paid out in legal fees, leaving me with a fraction of my actual losses to invest back into my business.
The Canada Line consortium, with assets over $13 billion, expects Hazel & Co to repay the entire $600,000 award, including the already paid legal fees. However, the lawyers for Canada Line apparently suggested that they might be prepared to waive some or all of the recovery of all moneys paid to Susan Heyes Inc. if no Leave to Appeal Application to the Supreme Court of Canada was filed.
Faced with another massive legal bill, and considering this financial inducement, the incentive for stopping any further legal action is compelling. But so is my determination for justice to prevail, and for this issue of national importance to be fully heard, and rectified.
I welcome financial assistance to continue this challenge.
If the several years of catastrophic business losses caused by the secretive, non-compliant cut and cover construction of the Canada Line is not considered severe, unreasonable, intolerable - and merits compensation - what process, what length of time and what degree of harm is?
The Supreme Court of Canada will be asked to consider the balance of fairness in the shared burden of costs and the shared benefits, as they relate to all participants in this landmark case, and that leave is being brought forward by Susan Heyes as a self-represented litigant, at great expense.
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.