Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of October 1st


Diversionary feeding should be considered

I would like to comment on the article "Bear Smart director calls for diversionary food program" in the Sept. 24 issue of the Pique.

Most of us chose to move to Whistler because of its beautiful nature and wildlife. There are very few sights in Whistler that are more exciting than seeing bears in the wild, especially when it's a momma bear with cubs.

Our current situation with bears is anything but harmonious. Whistler as a community is killing far too many bears every year.

Conservation officers advise us to keep the bears wild, but also encourage us to make them fearful and afraid of humans. These requests would be very reasonable if we were not encroaching further and further into bear territory — there are more bike trails and building activities higher up the mountain every year.

We occupy and destroy bear habitat and feeding areas. The only reason bears come close to human developments is not because they like to be around us, but because they are starving. The bears really have no choice if they want to survive. 

The bears are often viewed as "troublemakers," and get tagged for no other reason then eating a lunch from a worker who had left it in the open on a construction site. Unfortunately it is always portrayed as the bear's fault.

The relocation of the bears is also misunderstood. Many of us think that by relocating the bear we are doing it a favour. We couldn't be more wrong.

The outcome of a bear relocation is most likely death.

The statistics shows that most relocations don't work for various reasons. The relocation of the bears isn't the answer. Neither is killing the bears. 

We should learn to live in harmony with bears. They do not attack us and they do not prey upon us, but they are still getting killed for rummaging through trash or not being afraid enough of humans. 

Tourists love to see bears, as I do — we need to demonstrate that Whistler is progressive and on the forefront when it comes to protecting the environment and its wildlife. This is the livelihood of Whistler and amongst many of the reasons why people want to come to visit.

Sylvia Dolson's recommendation for diversionary feeding is the right approach. It shows compassion for the animals; it will reduce animal and human contact as no bears will be coming into the village to search for food.

This will help Whistler showcase a harmonious and respectful relationship between the community and its environment.

This would be at no cost to the municipality — there are private donors willing to finance the program. It's a win-win situation for the town and the bears.

Susanna Viktoria

Put values first in election

The time to vote with your heart and for your values is now.

Except for the Greens, the other parties are in a battle for sheer power. All three parties have said they will not compromise or form coalitions with each other.

But governing is not a ball game, and MPs are not members of a team blindly set on winning. They are representatives of hundreds of diverse communities with different cultures, values and goals.

Their democratic work is to make decisions on issues that affect us all nationally.

This work requires negotiation and compromise.

Whichever party forms the future minority government, the rigidity of its policies in its quest for power will result in one of two scenarios: The government will soon lose the confidence of the House of Commons and fall, necessitating another election, or it will refuse to give up power as Pierre Trudeau did in the past and Stephen Harper recently did.

The Greens will be a balance of power to modify partisan legislation. They will work for our country and its diverse people, including you, to bring changes the majority of us want and know we must have.

Nancy Leathley

Time to be creative with bears

I just wanted to show my support for a diversionary feeding program (Pique, Sept.24).

It's been an incredibly difficult summer (weather- wise for bears) and the food sources are seriously lacking because of it. With how many bears were destroyed last year, and two last week, I don't think we can continue down this path.

Diversionary feeding programs (of the past) have shown that this (kind of) program can work, and I think that it might be time to try it here.

It's so disheartening to hear about bears getting shot that I cannot even imagine if I had been there to witness it, or to be the RCMP officer who felt he had to shoot a bear himself.

Let's get creative, try something new, and boost morale for the whole town!

Katie Campbell

Suicide cyclist

I'm usually not one to write "letters to the editor," but I am writing this in the hope that it gets to the person it is directed at.

This is to the cyclist, wearing a blue waterproof jacket crossing the intersection at Valley Drive and Mountainview Drive on Wednesday, Sept.16 around 5:20 p.m.

I am the driver of the white Ford F-150 that you stared at after I nearly killed you, then laid on my horn.

You, sir, should go buy a lotto ticket as you are lucky I was not three seconds earlier, or that my brakes were not as well maintained as they are, because you would be dead right now.

With your hands off the handlebars, nowhere near the brakes, you blew through the stop sign at Valley Drive not looking up the hill to see my big white truck coming down the hill, causing me to nail the brakes, swerve out of the way and lay on the horn with my girlfriend gasping, knowing it was going to be close.

You then slowly looked in my direction without a care in the world. Guess what? If I had been three seconds earlier, and ran you down — my truck versus your bike — you would have lost. You are going to lose every time!

I would have to live with that for the rest of my life. Because of your stupid mistake I would now have to live with possibly killing someone.

How selfish of you, because you didn't feel the need to stop at a stop sign, now you have ruined someone else's life, who was just trying to go about living their day, driving to their destination.

I will not turn this into the bikes-versus-cars deal that is all the rage in the world right now, as I enjoy being out on my bike and my motorcycle more than driving my truck.

But when are cyclists and pedestrians in this town going to get it?

Cars can kill you! Get your head out of your backside and pay attention, because next time it might be someone who was looking at their phone, or changing the radio station, or their brakes are gone, and they will hit you.

I have had so many close calls while riding my motorcycle it really forces me to understand that no one is going to look out for you but yourself.

Please people take this warning to heart, as I never want to be the cause of ending someone's life because of their lack of judgment.

Nick Antle

Alta Vista – you shine!

Well, despite the initial rainy cool weather, our first annual Alta Vista Neighbourhood Block Party on Sunday, Sept. 20 was miraculously mostly dry, ended in sunshine, and from the feedback of those who attended, was very enjoyable and appreciated.

The afternoon was filled with numerous introductions, warm smiles and laughter, neighbourly chitchat and casual feasting. Neighbours old, new, young and not as young, had an opportunity to meet or reconnect. Kids splashed in puddles, had faces painted, batted a piñata and played in the park.

Many thanks are needed. First and foremost, I would like to thank the Whistler Centre for Sustainability for the brilliant idea, the patient encouragement, guidance and the funding to make our Block Party a reality.

A hug of gratitude to the following people who helped plan, promote and make our party the memorable afternoon it was: Tracy Higgs, Dan Wilson, Laura Harley, Richard Harley, Marla Zucht, Roman Torn and Christy Shinduke.

Thanks also to: Paint on People for the fabulous face painting; to AWARE for the useful Zero Waste Station; to the Whistler Museum for the fun and informative historical pictures; to the Whistler Centre for Sustainability for the aerial photo of our neighbourhood and engaging discussion activity; to Nesters; Lucia Gelato; to the Spring Creek Elementary PAC for the much needed tents; and to the RMOW for the park rental.

Our event was a wonderful reminder that whether it's having a positive outlook on things (it is only a little rain!), getting involved in something that will improve or benefit our neighbourhood, or just being friendly and kind to your neighbour — neighbourhoods are important. "Do work" and together we can make our neighbourhood an extra special place to live.

And Alta Vista is just that kind of place.

Christine Zucht
Proud Alta Vista resident

Make your vote count

There has been a letter a week the past month in Pique regarding wild salmon.

Most people here know me from Whistler Appliance Service, few know that I made my living for the three decades prior in commercial salmon fishing.

I participated with the Squamish Fisheries Roundtable, a fine group of dedicated volunteers striving to improve our salmon resource. I echo Dave Brown's comments (Pique, "Letters to the Editor," Sept.17) regarding how poorly our present MP (John Weston) has supported all the hard work that went into the $39-million Cohen Commission's recommendations.

The No. 1 recommendation from Cohen was for a moratorium on any new salmon farm licenses on the Salish Sea stock migration route until more is known about farms' disease threat to wild salmon stocks. Recently the Conservative government awarded four new leases, the largest increase in history, right where they could have the most potential damage.

They also extended old leases from one year to nine. The lease applications then went to Victoria for approval. I emailed our MLA, Jordan Sturdy, asking him for his opinion. I received back his default thank you form letter.

It was almost the same letter Weston sent me when I wrote to him about how a friend's life had been saved by the Kitsilano Coast Guard. I also reminded him that former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney tried to close that station for its real estate value, but an MP back then by the name of Pat Carney had the cojones to listen to pleas from mayors, police chiefs, fire chiefs and the public, and sensibly saved the station.

This time around the same pleas from the same experts fell on Weston's deaf ears. The station's annual budget was $750,000 — it cost a million dollars to decommission the recently renovated dock. 

So voters it's time that we actually have a say.

Please make sure that you are registered to vote, check Elections Canada (www.elections.ca) especially if you have changed addresses since the provincial election two years ago.

It is predicted to be a very close race here in Sea to Sky. The NDP will do well in B.C., but with such a huge percentage of our riding's polls in West Vancouver, our only hope of change here is if a certain wonder woman in red can upset the present powerful status quo.

Our worst nightmare is a split 28 per cent Liberal, 28 per cent NDP and 12 per cent Green, allowing this Tory blue environmental attack to continue.

Please remember the results of our last provincial election. If one half of the people of B.C. that voted Green provincially had voted NDP instead then we would not have Christy Clark at the helm in Victoria today. Not saying that would be good or bad, just stating a fact.

Our environment is in dire need of change. Please do your research and make your one vote count for a win for our environment, not just a soon-to-be forgotten protest vote that the Conservatives are counting on.

Jim Horner

Why do we need change?

We are hearing the voices from political parties that Canadians want a change.

Let's look at where we are now.

In mining, Canada is the world's top potash producer, second-largest uranium producer, and third-largest aluminum and platinum producer and we rank as a top-five producer of other key minerals and metals.

In energy, Canada is the world's third-largest natural gas producer, fifth-largest oil producer and third-largest producer of hydroelectricity.

In forestry, Canada ranks first in newsprint and second in softwood lumber and wood pulp.

Housing starts across Canada are at a three-year high.

In 2006 and 2007 the Harper government posted surpluses that positioned Canada to weather the 2008 financial crisis. At the same time countries in Europe spent and borrowed instead of saving and look at the outcome.

If Canadians truly want change, perhaps they should be asking the Liberal and NDP parties how they are going to double the price of a barrel of oil in the next year. What are they going to do to put confidence back into the Chinese stock market? We are in a global economy — what is happening in Europe and elsewhere seriously affects a resource nation like Canada.

The Liberals and NDP are full of antidotes about helping the middle class. But one or both parties want to stop TFSA's and combined income splitting. Both benefit the middle class the most. They also want to hike payroll taxes; this will hurt the middle class. They want to keep the RRSP's, which benefit high-income earners.

The New York Times stated that Canadian middle-class income is moving up. The Liberals and NDP like to vilify the rich class — this lowly one per cent of the Canadian landscape. Whenever incomes are threatened money walks and leaves the country, doing harm to investments, banking and the Canadian stock market.

Manufacturing in all G7 countries has dropped. The biggest reason manufacturing left Canada is the seven states in the U.S. that have no state income tax. They also offer exemption on property taxes for years to those who will relocate to their state.

Mexico offers cheap labour and low environmental restrictions. This is the reason no political party in Canada can stop what other countries offer to relocate there.

Canada has just heard that we are one billion dollars in the black.

Isn't it surprising that Canada remains one of two Countries in the G7 not facing a major deficit?

Tell me again why do we need change?

Bob Lampman

Voting Green not a waste

In G.D. Maxwell's column on Sept. 24, he says, "If the Green tally tilts the results in Mr. Weston's favour, well it's something I wouldn't want to carry around with me," intimating that the Greens should withdraw from the race to give the NDP and Liberals a better chance of beating the Conservatives.

As the race goes into the final stretch, the mass media seems to have decided to ignore the Green Party and consider a Green vote a wasted one.

This brings back memories of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's 1988 book, — Manufacturing Consent, and it appears that our media is now going down the same road of telling us what we should be doing and the consequences if we don't.

It looks as though we are heading for a minority government, and if the Green Party is able to win a few seats across the country it will give it the balance of power and an opportunity to help guide us on a more sustainable path than we are on at present.

If voters bother to take the time to read the Green platform, it will be obvious that their vision for a smart, business friendly, sustainable economy makes a lot of sense.

Although there are now thousands of Green voters across the country, they are still being told that they are wasting their time. This is a very sad reflection of who we are as a country.

So many are concerned about the environment, but because of media pressure they haven't got the courage to vote to try and save it and help Canada regain its position in the world as one of the most caring, responsible and respected nations.

John Dudley
Lions Bay

Strategic voting

Politics is strategic. Political campaigns, in particular, are highly strategic.

It is manipulative and misleading (and also ironic) for a politician to dissuade the electorate from being strategic with their vote. The true irony is that a strategic vote for a new government in the upcoming election could change Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system to proportional representation (PR).

The PR system removes the need for strategic voting.

The Harper government has had great success with its strategy of uniting the right and maintaining power in Canada with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote. In order to change the results of the next election, the opposing parties and the electorate must be strategic.           

Emily Mann

Mountain community has voice in election

In April of 1990, at 11 days old, my dad packed me into a backpack and went backcountry skiing on Cypress Mountain above Vancouver. Much to the chagrin of my grandparents, and with a few stares from those in the parking lot, it was a fitting start to my life as an outdoor adrenaline junkie and sponsored snowboarder.

With all my time outdoors, and being fortunate enough to have travelled across the United States, Canada and down to Chile during the summer months chasing winter, I've seen firsthand the drastic shift in our winters. There would have been no backpacking in my dad's backpack last year as the North Shore Mountains lay dry and bare throughout the winter of 2015.

From a snowboarder's perspective, one of the biggest impacts I've noticed is the fluctuating freezing levels, which create rain in high elevations leading to dangerous crusts and layers in the snowpack. This makes backcountry skiing even more dangerous with an increase in avalanches. Shockingly, during my trip down to Chile this summer, its winter, we sat waiting for snow, as July in central Chile was without precipitation for the first time in recorded history.My personal experiences with climate change aren't merely coincidence. The last decade has been the hottest on record.  Each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the decade before, with each one setting a new and significant record for the highest global temperature.Yet, as our winters drastically shrink and change, our government locks us into an opposite direction with proposed exponential expansion of the very industries changing the climate.

On the West Coast we're seeing an exponential expansion of fossil fuel extraction from an LNG industry fuelled by hydraulic fracturing, coal terminals and tar sands' pipelines to the coast.It's clear that our actions, or inactions on the coast will have huge implications on how much fossil fuel we're willing to burn in the face of climate change. Which is why our Vancouver-based organization Beyond Boarding joined forces with Protect Our Winters, an American charity and MEC to launch our "DROP IN AND VOTE" campaign.

The goal is to trigger the outdoor community to vote on climate change in the Oct. 19 federal election. The multimedia campaign launched on Sept. 29 features information on the different parties, an online pledge to vote and will have a series of videos of professional athletes asking their followers to participate.With the next United Nations Climate Change conference coming this winter in Paris, and a last chance to achieve binding caps on world emissions, there are exciting headlines being made by certain Canadian parties.

The NDP party wants to table an end of subsidies for the tar sands, while the Green party platform tables strong opposition against all fossil fuel expansion on the West Coast — huge changes seem achievable. What would it look like to elect a Canadian leadership that could emerge a leader from the Paris climate talks rather then having the honour of receiving the "unachievement" fossil award for inaction on climate change from Climate Action Network as we did during the UN climate talks in Warsaw in 2013. What better opportunity than now to mobilize to save our winters and tie into the bigger global movement on climate change?

As snowboarders and skiers we get to witness climate change directly, which gives us a tiny glimpse and interest into its global implications.

In Chile, where many riders chase winter in the summer, climate change casualties and displacement is increasing as massive flash floods take place in the driest desert in the world.

With an increase in flooding, drought, and powerful storms already causing mass displacement and suffering around the world, how our privileged community of riders and shred bums respond will reflect the type of community we are.

Being around this community my whole life I have no doubt it is more than possible to translate our passion for winters into a responsibility to act, listen and vote.

Tamo Campos
Co-founder, Beyond Boarding