Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another Cheated Cambie Line Business Speaks Out

In response to Don Cayo, Vancouver Sun editorial Friday Sept 7/07 “Compensation no answer for Cambie crisis”

I appreciate the apparent complexity of the problem of equitable and realistic compensation. However, not to deal with the topic at all sets an unacceptable precedent that it is ok to push through a public project without regards to private rights to make a living and provide for their families. The businesses in Cambie village, in many cases, have their life savings invested in their businesses and are the only means they have to provide for themselves and their families. That means to survive has been stripped away without regard by the very government bodies they have been paying taxes to. The Cambie merchants are not asking for handouts, they are simply asking for moral and ethical behaviour and the right to continue to be contributors to our economy, through their businesses.

A public project managed with integrity would include, full disclosure of the methodology and impact of the project; communication with the merchants regarding how they are being affected by it and what they need to get through this crisis; acknowledgement and accountability for damages created; and responsibility to compensate for those damages. These principles apply to private construction projects and are enforced by law. Public projects should not be exempt from our most fundamental of laws - being accountable to others for foreseeable damages caused by actions taken.

The management of the Canada Line project is riddled with inconsistency of word and action. It appears that the parties that back the project haven’t done their due diligence re: the cost of the project, which includes the cost of the impact of those in the area, as it relates to the chosen construction methodology. Whether the damages are intentional or unintentional, they should be required to compensate as they are the only ones that have the power to create or prevent financial damages to others.

The construction methods and corresponding impact on the Cambie businesses was grossly misrepresented and the construction schedules change almost daily, leaving the average business person incapable of planning for and managing losses. These losses are simply a cost of construction that should have been allowed for and factored into the funding equation. To allow public projects to go forward without consideration for impact is socially irresponsible. It is our duty to stand up and ensure that this construction model is not repeated anywhere else in Canada.

There is a simple remedy for determining and compensating for losses created by the project. Look at earnings prior to construction and earnings during the construction, the difference is the extent of the business losses created by the project. This could be easily verified by requiring financial statements audited by certified accountants. This formula could be restricted to projects over a specific period of time (say three months or longer), causing unsustainable financial damages that endanger the continued existence of the business.

For those that have left the area, the losses could be limited to the time spent in the area during construction. For those just arrived, they entered into commitments with full knowledge of the impact and should have factored those into their financial plans, therefore not being eligible for compensation. The fact that so many new businesses have entered the area should be testimonial to the “fire sale” nature of the businesses that have been replaced. It should not be considered evidence of healthy commerce in the area.

Asking for responsibility for damages created in the form of compensation is the only action consistent with our democratic political system and our legal justice systems as they are currently defined. To sanction the expropriation of livelihood by the government at will, “for the public good”, is a very dangerous precedent to set.

Dale DubberleyPresident/ Thai Away Enterprises Inc.

Gateway Secrecy

Vaughn Palmer has some fun today with the Gateway plan and the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.

As he should.

I have invited both Kevin Falcon, the Minister of Transportation, and the CEO of Gateway to participate in a public debate. I gave each of them 3 different dates over the next 3 months, and yet, curiously, neither of them could find the time on a Wednesday night to participate.


Kids...Whatsamatter with kids today?

The social psychologists have again discovered what most of us have known for a generation now.

All piano lessons and Nintendo make Markie a dull boy.

What I've seen for many years now is two extremes: The over programmed kid who is SUV'd from ballet to math camp to tennis vs. the abandoned to the TV, playstation cyber-dork.

What we see so little of these days are kids simply running around the neighbourhood, making up their own melodramas as they go.

The technologies which are supposed to aid communication - the cellphone is the worst example - are in fact isolating people.

The so-called "family room" is actually the Anti-Family Room. It is a place for everyone to watch TV and disappear up their own backside.

"Jane Doe" is Out

Like most of you, I have avoided reading a word about the Pickton trial.

But it was impossible to avoid today's headline grabber, "Pickton Judge Throws Out Evidence."

There may, in fact, be good reasons for this, but we'll never really know because the judge has not explained himself.

Let's hope that this in no way impacts the inevitable outcome of this horror show.

Great New Movie - "THIS IS ENGLAND"

There's a new movie playing at the Fifth Avenue called "This Is England."

Go see it.

Powerful, funny and terrifying, it is among the best movies Ive seen in years.

The plotline is described on the IMDB website as follows:

"A story about a troubled boy growing up in England, set in 1983. He comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends even like family. Based on experiences of director Shane Meadows."
Maggie Thatcher's War in the Falklands in the ever-present background.

All of the actors are spot-on, but the Thomas Turgoose, playing the boy, and Stephen Graham, playing the central bully character, "Combo," are astonishing. Graham in particular is the most captivating screen presence I've seen since Brando. His "This is England" soliloquy early in the film is breathtaking. Later, he tries to express his "love" for a girl he date-rated when she was 16 and drunk. Not many actors can give you this range and complexity.

As often happens with British movies, the actors do not appear to be acting; they seem at once to be merely "found," real people that have been accidently filmed.

Don't miss this one.