As I read the coverage leading up to the elections I find myself more and more concerned with how our multiple electoral candidates are often singing to the same tune.
Yes, I think we can all agree that we have to reduce the municipal deficit and bring spending in line with comparable commercial entities and what the community can afford. But it seems that many candidates are focusing their campaigns almost entirely on reducing muni wages, cutting spending, freezing taxes and pay parking.
Are we not at a point where these things have already received enough attention in the community that they will be addressed? Based on candidates campaign messages, it doesn't matter who gets in, as they will all be focused on these issues.
So now I want to know more. Where are the discussions about candidates' visions for the future of Whistler? Who wants us to increase the bed cap, build a university, open a strip joint (high end of course). Who wants to talk about how we balance growth with protecting our environment. Yes, I said the 'E' word. I would also love to talk about how candidates see us getting closer to the 'S' word (sustainability).
If we forget the importance of our environment then we forfeit our greatest unique selling point and have nothing on which to base a healthy society and economy. It seems to me that cutting spending at the municipality will become irrelevant if our future council does not also invest itself in protecting Whistler's natural assets. After all, aren't these natural assets the reason tourists, workers and locals alike choose to be here?
Although the environment and sustainability don't seem to be on the current agenda, I truly hope this is because they have been temporarily overshadowed rather than "dropped." We all have a responsibility to get informed and the best way to do this is to attend as many of the upcoming All Candidate Meetings as you can, raise questions and talk to the contenders.
So dig deep, and let's see what we can find out about our electoral candidates, hopefully it matters in 50 years!
Claire Ruddy (speaking as an individual, not as AWARE president)
Municipal employees deserve better
Many candidates for Council in Whistler seem to think that all the poor decisions of the past few years should be paid for by municipal employees. From some there is the mild suggestion that we won't get any raises for a while. Others want to impose pay cuts. Still others want to get rid of many of us.