Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of October 8th

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Drive using your brains

On the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 23, while driving north on Highway 99 towards Whistler, we witnessed acts of stupidity.

The location was just north of Brohm Lake on the steep-climb straightaway.

There were signs on the highway starting more than a kilometre south warning "Road Works Ahead Be Prepared to Stop."

The signs were placed at irregular intervals, so all those driving north could see. Further signs warned drivers to slow down.

On the straight climb there were red cones identifying the three lanes.

The road was being resurfaced.

About midway up, and in the middle lane, there was a Department of Highways work vehicle with flashing lights and a couple of male crew working from it as it made its way northward at a measured pace.

Yet, one person, who must have been sitting on his or her brains, decided to pull out and pass the highways vehicle endangering the life of one or more crew members, and possibly other workers further ahead.

And, as one idiot goes surely another buffoon will follow, so a couple followed the first vehicle.

Yes, they wrecked a few cones as they drove over them.

The work crew was traumatized and had to stop their vehicle. They appeared visibly shaken and pulled off the road.

Do people really need to be in such a hurry that they are prepared to risk the lives of workers in the road crew?

My suggestion to the drivers of the vehicles that chose to drive past the Department of Highways vehicle, which had all its lights flashing including big yellow lights above the cab, is if you are going to sit on your brains please ensure that you are not sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle.

Keith Fernandes
Vancouver/Whistler

Tap into history

I was surprised when I read about the options to prevent flooding in Tapleys, and that reestablishing the outflow at the south of Alta Lake was not even considered.

After talking to a friend, also a long time resident, I learned that he suggested "culverting" the south end and was informed by the "expert" that he was not even aware that Alta Lake used to drain out at the south end.

Would the Tapleys even have farmed that area if there were a constant chance of flooding?

Also, if Alta Lake emptied south, the water quality would increase and the weeding problem could be thwarted, if not eliminated.

Perhaps in the future, before bringing in consultants/experts at great expense, the vast historical knowledge residing in the valley may be tapped at no expense?

Jim Kennedy
Whistler

Volunteers needed

The Whistler Service of Remembrance (Nov. 11) is a 100-per-cent volunteer, community-presented event.

The Organizing Committee is always looking for a little extra help in the lead up to, and on the day.

Please contact me at bucks10@telus.net if you can lend a hand with this most special of Whistler community events.

Brian Buchholz, chair
Whistler Service Of Remembrance

Stop G.D.

The last page opinion has become less a page of information and entertainment recently, especially in presentation of our national election.

It is now a platform for bullying and intolerance followed by other less intriguing characteristics.

Once upon a time in our "fair" land, when print and radio/TV were the main presenters of information, the last page of Maclean's Magazine was cleverly crafted by Allan Fotheringham and many readers went first to that page for some topical entertainment. Now that last page is a soft-sell obituary, which may well be ignored by many readers as unimportant or trivial.

What a shame if that same trend were to happen to this readable page of the Pique.

Bright minds, such as Mr. Maxwell's can easily turn sour during a lengthy election, hollow promises, and obfuscation and drivel. However, sir, please take a sugar pill, or a spoon of honey, to mix in with your vitriol and return to what you are best at and relevant — the mind working at speed through the twists and turns of explanations in our Alpine existence.

I shall vote with my mind open and my heart to a better Canada and not be bullied into a voting strategy by a scribe.

I, too, have attended open candidates meetings and have learned that all four of our riding's representatives could easily handle the job.

Where the press influences our brains and our hearts is by referencing "party" and "leader," as if these were the deciding factors and not the individual up for the job.

Here's to a better Canada.

Freddy/Rick McCarthy
Pemberton

Why Canada is so poor

I couldn't help notice Bob Lampman's "letter to the editor" (Pique, Oct.1).

He's definitely right about Canada's ranking in the whole world regarding our national resources: potash No. 1, uranium No. 2, oil deposit No. 3 (production No. 6), nickel No. 4, diamonds No. 5, salt No. 5, zinc No. 6, gold No. 9, and copper No. 9.

I think Gabriel Yu (immigrant, commentator, social activist, former NDP provincial candidate) addresses this very well — here is an excerpt: "It (Canada) has plentiful natural resources and a relatively small population of 35 million. Yet our government always claims it is short of money.

"Education funding has to be cut, healthcare resources are said to be insufficient, eligibility for Old Age Security is postponed from 65 to 67, and even Canada Post cannot afford to deliver mail to our homes.

"Canada might be the first major western country that cannot afford to deliver mail to the homes of its people.

"Many Middle East countries are rich because of oil, but Canada has many other valuable natural resources in addition to oil. Why is our government so poor?

When the price of oil was at record high and Alberta was called the engine of the country, the Albertan Conservative government was in deficit year after year.

A 2013 International Monetary Fund report estimated that Canada annually subsidizes the energy industry at a staggering $34 billion.

Oil exploration in the North Sea by the United Kingdom and Norway provides a telling economic case to the world. Although the U.K. and Norway basically possess similar quantities of oil reserves and commenced exploration at the same time, decades later the country, which adopted the economic model of nationalization, has an almost $1-trillion reserve, whereas the U.K., applying Margaret Thatcher's free market economy, ended up $2.5 trillion in national debt.

Like Norway, other countries like those in the Middle East, China, Malaysia and Russia are also using the nationalization model.

For the U.K. and Canada, not only have they adopted a privatization model for their oil and mineral resources, these governments' tax rates are also much lower than those in Norway. Canada's corporate tax rate is half that of Norway's. In addition to corporate income tax, Norway collects a special oil profit tax. In Alberta, the royalties for oil and production could amount to merely one per cent.

In the province of B.C., the overall revenue of the mineral industry for the year of 2013 was $8.5 billion. Do you know how much tax and charges our government (including government agencies) collected from this revenue? The answer is $0.5 billion, or six per cent of the overall revenue, according to the Mining Association of B.C.'s website."

Peter Skeels
Whistler

Application for liquor license extension

Whistler Blackcomb is applying to the British Columbia Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for "Temporary Use Area (TUA) Endorsement Licenses" for both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

If approved, Whistler Blackcomb would have the opportunity to host up to 52 functions per calendar year (26 per mountain), spread across 12 designated locations, and could provide liquor primary service.

This would mean functions, such as a wedding party at the Peak, could include a champagne toast; or that private and public events, held in designated outdoor locations on the mountains, will be licensed for liquor service.

Whistler Blackcomb envisions these licenses being used for both food and liquor focused events, like barbecues or beer gardens.

At any event with a TUA license, minors would have to be accompanied by an adult, it would have to be outdoors, and it would end by 10 p.m., as per the regulations.

All events require provincial approval and any event of 500 people or more will require approval from the RMOW, the RCMP, and the Fire Department.

If you have an opinion on this application, please send your feedback to the Resort Experience Department of the RMOW by Oct. 10.

Paul Street
Whistler Blackcomb Vice President, Food and Beverage

Billy's Celebration of Life

Thank you Rosie's House for hosting the party (for Bill Johnson's Celebration of Life). Many thanks to his good friends that helped put this all together. It was so nice to see so many people come out. The love was amazingly overwhelming.

Much love and gratitude.

Lisa-Marie Blouin
Whistler

Commit to no LNG

(I'm addressing this letter to Liberal candidate Pam Goldsmith-Jones.) Ready to come onside and step up with a "no" to Woodfibre?

It would serve you and Sea to Sky residents well!

The highway is already clogged from over expansion and promotion of Whistler's assets. The province wants to see annual growth of five per cent — after last summer it's apparent we're maxed out.

We came here in 2013 to escape the madness of hectic Toronto. Looks like we should have gone to Smithers instead.

Howe Sound has just recovered after years of abuse. It should be made a protected marine reserve reserved for tourism that could/would thrive if Squamish developed its waterfront for tourism.

When you do not commit, there's no trust.

Robert Dingle
Whistler

What should the voting strategy be?

I am on board with the end-result of your passionate, almost psychotic-fundamentalist approach to removing the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) from office, however, you are barking up the wrong tree with the Greens ("Maxed Out," Pique, Oct. 1). They will attract five per cent of the vote — at most.

Who cares? The important question to ask to remove John Weston is whom to vote for — the NDP or Liberals?

If they get equal support, John's in — you know that as well as I do. So tell me, who is leading in the polls in this riding and who should I support?

Patrick Mitchell
Whistler

Voting Green does have an impact

In April, I moved to this riding after spending the last 40 years in Alberta. Most of those years were spent in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so moving here was a "natural" blend.

The last six or so years were spent in Southwest Calgary, due to medical reasons.

During those six-plus years, two federal elections passed. I voted Green in both elections, but they kept re-electing my MP, Stephen Harper.

I crack up when I hear about strategic voting, that would have me "wasting" my vote in the ultimate ABH riding.

I voted with my heart for the big picture. As the Greens grew, my vote, combined with many others, resulted in the Green Party receiving a stronger percentage of votes nationally. This resulted in the party qualifying for the financial return that all major parties receive based on the number of votes cast for them during any specific election.

This allowed them to continue to develop well thought out alternative policy/approaches.

It is clear what is not working today. The "majors" are more concerned about what will cost them votes. A growing Green percentage and those policies that are garnering that support, gets their attention.

Especially in a minority government situation, a small, but expanding number of elected Green MP's are the best way to bring these issues front and centre.

If you have children, or grandchildren, time is an issue.

I am just such a happy camper to be living in a time and riding where my Green candidate has such a strong chance of being one of those members!

However you vote, check the platforms, read the background, look the candidates in the eye when you ask your questions.

When people discuss the upcoming election, I gently remind them to vote because if they don't, what credibility does opinion really have?

Thank you, my new neighbours, for helping shape such a fine place to live.

D'Arcy McCrea
Squamish

Please consider an animal-friendly menu

I love WAG and I think they do wonderful work. I used to volunteer there on a regular basis, and I have seen how much hard work goes into rescuing animals and outreach programs. We are truly lucky to have such a great organization in our community.

But this weekend I felt sad, because I know that WAG has not yet adopted an animal-friendly menu policy for its fundraising events, such as the K9 Wine and Dine, held Oct.3.

We are all conditioned throughout our lives to believe that some animals are different to others, by our parents, our schools and especially from companies who want us to buy their products.  

But when do we take the time to really think things through for ourselves? When do we ask ourselves why we love some animals and eat other animals?

Research has shown that pigs are highly intelligent, much more intelligent than dogs.

Chickens possess communication skills that are on par with primates and use sophisticated signals to convey their intentions.

Cows form strong bonds with other cows, and are so devastated when their offspring are taken away from them that they have been known to hide their young, to chase after the trucks and to cry out in grief for days on end.

We owe it to these creatures to think critically about why we eat them. Why is it our pets are showered with love and affection, but food animals are treated so poorly that if someone treated their dog or cat like that they would go to jail?

And if we're thinking of "humane" meats as an alternative, let us consider, "Would I be OK with eating humanely raised dogs and cats?" (And why is our answer usually "no" to that question?) Is there really much difference between eating a lamb or a puppy?

Shelters often worry that people won't attend their events if they don't serve meat. But I don't think WAG needs to worry, especially with our compassionate and thoughtful community here in Whistler.  

WAG supporters, please let WAG know that you will celebrate with them a decision to adopt an animal-friendly menu policy, you will support them just as much as before and you will feel honoured to be a part of saving even more animals!

You can find out more information about animal-friendly menu policies at www.foodforthoughtcampaign.org.

WAG, I would love to help you move to an animal-friendly menu policy. Feel free to reach out to me anytime at whistler@earthsave.ca. Thank you again for all the wonderful work that you do.

Hayley Ingman
Whistler

Consider being a conscientious objector

You made a few notable "Opening Remarks" (Pique, Oct. 1). In your second last paragraph you wrote, "It is time for Canada's politicians to truly listen to the taxpayers of this great nation."

Isn't that what they're doing?

Generally speaking everyone wants something different, which is why we have five (and could have more,) parties of politicians, and why "no one party's platform has everything (we) want." 

Max, (in his Pique column "Maxed Out,") said the same thing differently. "None of us are going to get what we want under the election tree." Both statements echoed one that Barack Obama made at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Crash Conference. About climate change negotiations he said, "No country will get all they want." The sanitized version of my reaction at the time was "Holy crap!" 

Surely all every country wants is the same healthy environment; and surely all every person wants is a healthy life. We're not getting what we want because we don't see the way to create lives commonly as free as possible from physical, mental and spiritual disease. So we stumble and fumble in our own conflicting ways, dividing humanity and destroying our environment as we go.

The electoral reform mentioned by Max and in "Opening Remarks" isn't the cure for our blindness. There isn't a democratic system that can unify any part of a divided humanity.

Winston Churchill once said, "The best case against democracy is a five- minute conversation with a voter." He was close, but if he was given one he shouldn't have gotten another cigar, for the best case against democracy is a 30-second clip from a leader.

Last week with one swipe "Dr. (Stephen) Harper" skillfully divided Canadians with a niqab. Then "Uncle Tom (Mulcair)" wounded himself by criticizing the "doctor's" division, and without pausing to think, defended a person's "right" to divide Canadians. Next, "Teach (Justin) Trudeau" failed the "doctor" for engaging in the "politics of division" while standing on a platform with three other "leaders" representing divisions of Canadians. Even "Mini (Elizabeth) May" doesn't know "politics" divide and so "politics of unity" is an oxymoron.

If we could only see we don't need their "help." Each of us can cure our own blindness by discarding from our lives all sources of conflict. With each discard we'll see a healthier life and healing environment, and the way to both and the system that maintains them will become clearer without needing to cast a vote. 

Sadly a majority of people will vote.

Some will probably be swayed by "Peter the Great Anchor (Mansbridge)" at CBC who has been urging everyone to "make your vote count for you."

I remain a conscientious objector alone amid the conflict, trying to illuminate with my pathetic little candle the fact that regardless of the results, if we continue having elections we'll all be losers until we're lost.  

Doug Barr
Whistler

Election Confusion

As the federal election looms this month, I can't help wondering what the opposition parties think Canadians want changed. Is it real change — or just political rhetoric? Remember: The Conservative government negotiated a number of international trade deals that will put Canada in a strong position in the years to come.

The government introduced tax-free savings accounts, which benefit anyone who wishes to save. The government instituted pension splitting for retirees (this benefits middle-class, retired Canadians).

The government posted a surplus in 2015 (also in 2006 and 2007). The government reduced the GST by two percentage points – a 30-per-cent reduction on a tax that we pay on everything.

The government got us through the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009 without long-term damage (arguably the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression).

The government stands strongly in favour of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, while its neighbours want to annihilate it.

(Editor's note: while there is some debate on this, the Freedom House and other indices also consider Turkey, Kuwait, Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco as democratic)

Canada is coping well with a global economy in which it has no control over the price of oil, natural gas, minerals or forest products.

Canada has been declared the best country in the world in which to live.

No political party is perfect, and no candidate is perfect (especially career politicians).

They say Canadians want change. Well, I ask them which of the foregoing do Canadians want to change and what would they replace them with that would bring greater benefit to this great country?

Robert Cessford
Whistler

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