An Order of Canada recipient is the face of the opposition against the proposed South Surrey casino near Gateway, British Columbia – opposition which could cancel the development of the casino entirely. Personal Injury Lawyer Bernie Simpson says if the casino is developed as planned, it would devastate families of minority cultures living in southern BC communities. Simpson challenges the legality of donations from casino proponents to political figures in Surrey, and asks all opponents to sign an online petition.
Simpson has served as legal counsel for several cases in South Asian communities, and has developed a reputation for achieving victories that are in the best interests of local families. He has made several arguments similar to a 1994 case he won in Vancouver – the potential risks of a casino far outweigh the benefits.
“Many of the homes within the community are having difficulty making ends meet, families are under continuing stress as is evident by well publicized reporting of domestic violence, drinking problems, and of course there are the numerous gang wars and there’s no way we can keep those gangs away from this proposed casino.”
Simpson has challenged casino proponents and the numbers they have used to justify a casino and its benefits. He says initially proponents claimed $6 million in profit sharing for the Gateway and South Surrey communities, but that figure has been retracted and replaced with only $3 million. He has also argued politicians will raise taxes to fund the casino infrastructure due to political donations from casino lobbyists without considering the harmful effects those tax hikes will have on families in the community.
“I know that corporations do not give contributions, and for that matter unions also, without expecting something in return. Of course they don’t say that. They say that they are supporting the “democratic process”. Now let’s not kid ourselves.”
Surrey city council has polled the community, and found only 16 percent of respondents support the casino – a statistic that reduces to below 4 percent within walking distance of the proposed casino site. Simpson argues this research shows the community is strongly against the casino, and encourages all opponents to sign an online petition to express their opposition.
A public meeting on the casino will be held at Surrey City Hall on Monday, January 14 at 7:00pm – Simpson hopes all opponents will have signed the petition before that meeting.