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Over the last several years I have worked relentlessly to ensure these Games have as little impact as possible on the environment, on social issues and on civil liberties. Unfortunately all my work talking with VANOC and the ISU has been useless. So, I've turned my attention to the public to inform them on the current realities, and have made the decision to look to future Olympic Games and see how my actions on the ground in Whistler can have a positive impact on the future of the Olympics. I believe that through drastic reform, the Olympics can become a true celebration of sport and humanity instead of an environmental nightmare that ensures the most vulnerable people in the host countries suffer and where civil rights and free speech are suspended, while large corporations make tons of money.
If there was a time for dialogue with VANOC and the ISU that time has passed. I call for all citizens of Whistler to make yourselves heard and to stand up for your rights to freedom of speech. I believe that we can do better and I believe that we will make change happen, not at these Games necessarily but hopefully in the future.
Education the ultimate stimulus plan
This letter was addressed to Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.
There may be no place on the planet that has escaped the effects of the financial markets' failure. British Columbia is as exposed as any other jurisdiction. There is simply not enough money to cover the expenses we consider necessary. Yet, is this the time to reduce education spending? Education is the ultimate stimulus spending. If we can educate the future generation to be creative, intelligent, independent problem solvers our entire province and more will benefit. Furthermore success in school translates to lower social costs down the road.
Minister Coleman's comment regarding a lack of "blowback" from parents concerning the Direct Access Grant (DAG or Gaming Fund) cuts has rankled parents. This week I attended our school's first Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting and our first District PAC meeting of the school year. Some PACs have not elected an executive nor had a meeting. Nevertheless, it was the first opportunity we have had to ask parents how they feel about education and DAG spending cuts. PAC's throughout our province have taken a 50 per cent cut in the DAG (Gaming Funds). This cut represents approximately $42,000 in our district alone.