Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of February 2nd


Open hearts, open eyes

It's been a dismal last week in the U.S. only to be topped off by the barring of immigrants from certain countries and refugees into America.

My first reaction was that we Canadians should immediately retaliate and refuse Americans into our country on the basis that their political views are akin to fascism. One could argue that the political decisions made by Washington have nothing to do with our sovereignty, nor that the electorate who voted in this new extremism will ever affect us.

Tell that to the Czechs in 1938 or a resident of Manchuria in 1931. Don't think it won't happen again? Maybe we Canadians don't feel that way about the U.S. because we "look" and "talk" like Americans. 

Visit Miami, as an example, and you'll find the Spanish language is just as prevalent as English.

Last time I flew in, the U.S. customs border protection officer started out by asking me the routine questions in Spanish. I responded in French. He failed to see the humour. Three hours later, I was cleared. 

Mexicans coming to Florida must feel that they "look" and "talk" like Americans. Ask your average Mexican how he feels now. 

Then I took pause and remembered the half-dozen or so years I lived in the U.S., the amount of business I still do with Americans and how many people I consider friends south of the 49th parallel.

You cannot understand the American mentality unless you have lived there, and experienced the charm and openness that it offers.

I still remember July 4, 2004 living in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Just walking the 900 metres from my house to the beach, I was invited into a dozen or so backyard barbecues. They didn't know me, and I didn't know them. They just wanted to share their neighbourly love.

Or, how many times that when my flight landed at an American airport, everyone sat and waited until the troops had exited first to see their loved ones. So now, in their time of need, do we shut them out and eviscerate them from our love? 

No. We don't. 

Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, tweeted the following on Saturday: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada." 

Good for him. And for Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, for his recent comments and cancellation of his visit to the White House.

Let's all take a stand, but not at the cost of burning bridges.

We as Canadians are a mongrel mix of immigrants, refugees, First Nations and people like me born here in the freest country in the world. Let's embrace our American cousins in their time of need. Let's not chastise them or embarrass them. They need support.

But let's not be blindly tempted to ignore the dangers lurking to the south as it relates to international commerce, human rights and Canada's sovereignty. Let's be open hearted, and let's keep both eyes open.

Patrick Smyth

Butt out!

I felt blessed recently to be on the mountain surrounded by amazing scenery, nature and sparkling snow.

I was heading to Symphony Chair and went to the singles line. It was my turn to upload with two snowboarders when three skiers behind them invited me to come up with them. A short while into our ride, I could smell the evidence of why I felt that I was not welcome on the first chair.

When we got to the top, I took a good look at the two, wondering if they were just oblivious to the fact that the whole mountain is a non-smoking area while it was clear that they were smoking their weed without regard for others.

Shrugging off the experience, I was heading to Rhapsody Bowl via Frontier Pass (when I was taken by surprise by a skier that kept cutting me off, zig-zagging (in an) uncontrolled (manner) across the run in complete ignorance to who was beside him.

As I kept watching him, I realized that he was using his left hand to smoke while he used the right to carry his poles.

I then carried on down the bowl and cut in between the trees to one of my hidden powder stashes near Gun 6 when I spotted a ski pole near a tree with a glove attached. Hoping that there was no incident I was a bit relieved when I spotted someone lighting up in between the trees. I turned back and gave him a smile — at least he had the decency to get off the beaten track.

After another loop far out in Symphony where I found some (solitude), I returned to the chairlift and noticed a woman smoking right in front of the two lift lines. Maybe she didn't see the "No Smoking" signs, or couldn't read them as she certainly spoke a language foreign to me.

All the while I was trying to comprehend why we have a no-smoking rule on the mountain when many don't observe it or just don't give a damn!

It is a contradiction when a rule is in place and is not enforced. It seems to become a power play for some.

Margit de Haan

Action is needed

While I applaud Whistler Blackcomb's (WB) sudden interest in engaging the public with their new initiative, I can't help but notice it follows a familiar pattern of conventional norms, which in this case is appearing to lead while effectively abdicating leadership to assorted lower-rung industry cheerleaders and waterboys (Pique, Jan.26, 2017).

Climate change is not even remotely a conventional risk, yet Whistler Blackcomb is dealing with it in a conventional way.

Jeremy Jones has long been leading an entirely honourable campaign with his organization POW, but to be perfectly blunt, it has little impact. What would have impact is if an actual corporate power not only made predictable platitudes of vague concern and safe operational improvements, but actually took risks — political and cultural risks.

Even my old workmate Arthur De Jong noted this potential when he highlighted WB's history of creativity and convention breaking in one of the WB videos.

Snowmass, Aspen does this, as does Patagonia, Burton and a few others, so there certainly is some precedent, if that is what worries them.

Nobody pays much attention when the usual suspects rattle their protest signs.

When Suncor and the rest of the oil patch suddenly proclaimed support for a carbon tax, that made headlines and shifted popular opinion.

If WB COO Dave Brownlie was to do the same, on video as he shows he can do, that might create a sentiment in our mountain community that transcends the now-routine cynicism of suspected greenwashing.

Trust is built by taking risks for others. Those who are the least vulnerable to risk have the least excuse not to, if they know anything at all about the irrationality of risk aversion.

The one single thing missing in the now long-overdue action on climate is mass popular will. Nothing of significance will happen by nibbling around the edges and, as in the last Great War, that takes a unified popular intent.    

All mass movements require leadership. Our leaders already exist and no, I am not talking about pro athletes.

Bruce Kay

Action is the best antidote to despair

As a community of people who care about our climate and our world, many of us are feeling concerned about climate change and environmental degradation. We may even feel somewhat helpless, especially considering new U.S. President Donald Trump's views on the subject.

They say that action is the best antidote to despair. Forbes magazine published an article last week entitled, "9 Things You Can Do About Climate Change." They list nine simple actions almost everyone can take.

I wanted to share the first on this list, as it's still not common knowledge that this step significantly helps reduce our environmental footprint.

Wrote Forbes: "1. Become a vegetarian, or better yet a vegan. The share of greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture is usually pegged at 14.5 percent to 18 percent, but the Worldwatch Institute found lots of oversights in those calculations that, when properly counted, bring the ag contribution all the way up to 51 percent. That, you'll notice, is more than half. Which means that after we clean up all the transportation, energy, industry and commerce in the world, we've done less than half the job. The other half is meat and dairy. Refuse to eat it. If this seems too challenging, consider giving it up one day a week. It will still be the most important action you can take."

I know cutting out meat and dairy can sound scary. It's a big part of our diet after all. But contrary to common myths, you will get plenty of protein, you will feel full and you will still enjoy your food. I've been vegan for 19 years and I love it! Take it one step at a time, at a pace that works for you. Some people like to switch overnight, but others prefer to ease in.

So how about starting with trying just one vegan dish? Check out some recipes from local athlete blogs such as Julia Murray's www.hookedonplants.ca or Priscilla Levac Cannon's www.satisfyyoursoul.co. I guarantee you will find something delicious and filling!

You can read the full Forbes article, and the other eight actions, here www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2017/01/23/nine-things-you-can-do-about-climate-change.

Together we can make a big difference.

If anyone would like help in moving towards a plant-based diet, please feel free to contact me at whistler@earthsave.ca

Hayley Ingman
Earthsave Whistler

Nordic thanks

Callaghan Valley Cross Country combined the Haywood NorAm Westerns Championship with a regional Teck Coast Cup to host one of the biggest cross country ski events up at Whistler Olympic Park since the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We had 600 athletes participate in the action over three days, and it couldn't have happened without the incredibly hard work of up to 130 volunteers. Thank you to each one of you for your early mornings and long days.

And while the smiles on the kids' faces are usually enough to motivate us to come back another time, I'd like to sincerely thank the many local sponsors who donated so many fantastic volunteer appreciation gifts and podium prizes.

Thank you to Deep Cove Outdoors, Diamond Head Sport (Biz and Vaughti), Nordic Ski Grinds, Purebread, Samurai Sushi, 200 Degrees Bakery, Nesters, Creekside Market, Sports Stop, Vitality Muscle Balms, Starbucks, Santevia, Three Singing Birds, West Coast Chocolates, Sport Tube, Sea to Sky Gondola, Whistler Roasting Co., Whistler Brewing Co., WSL and Scandinave Spa.

Thank you also to the province of B.C. and Viasport for your support in helping us continue the dream of promoting a love of cross-country skiing and hosting events at our beautiful Olympic venue.

Lastly, thank you to all the hard-working staff at Whistler Olympic Park who helped us pull this event off so smoothly — you guys were amazing.

Margot Murdoch
Event Chair

Winetastic Thanks

The Board of the Whistler Public Library would like to thank Mei Madden and the team from the Whistler Blackcomb (WB) Foundation for entrusting us with the coat check for the Winetastic event on Jan. 20.

Thanks to the generosity of the event's attendees, we managed to raise over $700 to support the Library Capital Reserve.

It is always a pleasure to work with the WB Foundation and we appreciate the goodwill they spread throughout the Sea to Sky communities.

Thank you as well to the volunteers who gave a hand and demonstrated their exceptional "checking" abilities that evening — we couldn't have done it without you!

Elizabeth Tracy on behalf of The Whistler Public Library Board of Trustees

Winterfest success

I wish to thank the partners and volunteers of Pemberton Winterfest 2017 — we could not have done it without them.

This year we were able to host a two-day event in celebration of Winter at the Downtown Barn, as well as a pop-up, on-ice event at One Mile Lake. Their help and support made this year's Winterfest a great success.

So, here's to our volunteers — thank you for your resilience, energy and hard work: Kirk Becker, Daniel Cindric, Rob Meilleur, Shirley Henry, James Linklater, Heather Wunder, Pat MacKenzie, Ted Craddock, Dave Den Duyf, Linda Den Duyf, Brad Knowles, Claire Fuller, Veronique Hamel, Vince Moule, Lesley Clark, Steve Hitchen, Jody Gartner, Harriet Guard and Thomas Quenneville.And a huge thank you for the financial support from the Village of Pemberton, Squamish Lillooet Regional District, Innergex, Pemberton Valley Supermarket, Scotiabank, Huka Productions, Pemberton Music Festival Community Fund, Fix Auto, CRT-ebc, AC Gas, Arid Irrigation & Landscaping, West Park Electric and the Rotary Club of Pemberton.

Thank you also to our esteemed community partners for their unwavering support: Sabre Rentals, U-HAUL, Event Rental Works, Village of Pemberton Public Works, XL Audio Visual, High & Dry Storage, Wild Haves, Continental Log Homes, Big Sky Golf, Dave Steers Photography, Danielle Menzel Tait, Gary Martin, RONA, Pemberton Community Centre, Fun Science For All, OliveUs Glitter, Mile One, Pemberton Fire Rescue Service, Pemberton District Search & Rescue, Mainroad Contracting, Pemberton Ambulance, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 201, Pemberton Lions Club, Pemberton & District Chamber of Commerce, and Pocketful Productions.We look forward to another great event in 2018!

Carlee Cindric
Pemberton Winterfest Chair