In a world of miserly austerity and national retrenchment, we were thrilled to experience for the second time the "Miracle of Main Street" last Thursday. Whistler's Intercultural Festival thrives on connecting locals and visitors, newcomers and old timers in this growing celebration of our rich cultural diversity.
Despite the overcast skies, nothing dampened the spirits of close to 3,000 festivalgoers sampling the foods of 20 different cultural cuisines, as well as the songs and dances of performers from a dozen traditions from around the world.
German Chancellor Merkel and others might think that multiculturalism is dead in Europe but it is alive and well in Whistler, B.C. and Canada. We are grateful to the generosity of spirit and open-mindedness of all those who supported and participated in what we hope will be an annual and signature event in this international destination resort community.
We will continue to build on the festival's success to increase business and promotion of all the Main Street restaurants, Whistler's distinctively international zone. We will encourage all those new Canadians working and settling in Whistler to showcase their talents and traditions, and to connect in with the Whistler Multicultural Network. And we are committed with the federal government and muni council, staff and sponsors like IGA and the Pique to build bridges between differences creating new interactions, new fusions and inclusive, innovative communities that draw on cultural diversity.
Particular thanks to Rosemary Cook and her able team of volunteers; to Steve Clark and his stage crew with Ghazal Tohodi, MC extraordinaire. And from Belgium, Capilano U student Ester Melotte who learnt lots on the ground about event production, together with the skilled, dedicated team from Watermark — thank you.
Our immigration and labour policies, our settlement services and refugee supports, our deeper understanding of citizenship and democratic values amidst an ongoing "clash of civilizations" continue to test us. But in an increasingly welcoming Whistler and with intercultural forums and festivals, we are building a firmer foundation for a brighter future.
William Roberts, President on behalf of the board of The Whistler Forum for Leadership and Dialogue
Electoral boundaries need common sense
For the last six months the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has been reviewing electoral ridings across Canada. Incredibly they conclude Pemberton and Area C should remain part of the Chilliwack-Fraser Valley Electoral riding. In addition, they recommend the riding should encompass One Hundred Mile House in the Caribou region making it a massive, probably ungovernable region for one lone MP.
Is anyone else concerned about this? As a long-time resident of Pemberton, I feel we should share representation with our neighbours — Whistler and Squamish.
Our current MP Mark Strahl was even quoted in the Whistler Question (Feb.2, 2012) as saying: "I think it makes sense for Pemberton to be with Whistler. A lot of people who live in Pemberton work in Whistler, and certainly they're more connected in terms of everyday life to that part of the world than to the Fraser Valley."