Letters to the Editor 

Buy out the mountains, the land claims, but not the grizzlies.
Kudos for Andree, the Jettisons and from Whole Lotta Led

This is a strategic alliance

Peter Alder nailed it dead on when he suggested that the muni should acquire 30 per cent of the mountains (Michel Beaudry's Alta States article in last week’s pique). That is exactly the kind of "strategic alliances" and ventures that the RMOW should get involved in. Never mind, findwhistler.com, T-shirts, pens and coffee mugs. Peter is a visionary with the right ideas that will propel this town into a more certain future. He is an old dog teaching us new dogs new tricks.

Kudos to Peter Alder for pointing the obvious right track for Whistler to follow.

Jorge Alvarez

Toad Hall Studios

Treaty process an Olympic cost

The B.C. Auditor General’s report may have been frank, but was it complete (Governments get frank assessments, Opening Remarks Oct. 19)? Although the Auditor General included the cost of some long-term and overdue projects (i.e. Sea to Sky Highway upgrade) as Olympic costs, he ignored the fast-escalating cost of native land claim settlements. Yet, I submit, there is an Olympic connection.

The B.C. treaty process has been dragging on for 13 years, cost nearly $700 million and produced not a single signed treaty. In addition to the actual settlement costs, the province is also losing investment due to uncertainty of land ownership and extra red tape. Third party compensation and litigation to top up treaties could cost further billions.

Given the province’s exposure, the treaty process is surely ripe for the Auditor General’s scrutiny. The two agreements-in-principle ready for ratification should sound the alarm (Tsawwassen and Lheidli T’enneh in Prince George). If ratified, they would represent an unsustainable wealth transfer — far in excess of what would reasonably be needed to bring reserve living standards up to mainstream levels (which everybody would support). Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer noted that the settlement cost per band member for the Lheidlli T’enneh AIP (about $200,000 per) runs at twice the cost of the 1999 Nisga’a treaty (about $100,000 per). As I recall, even the politically correct media have found the Nisga’a treaty (negotiated outside the B.C. treaty process) extravagant, undemocratic, probably unconstitutional and certainly a bad precedent. Both the NDP government and the B.C. Liberal opposition of the day rejected it as a “template”.

So, why this unjustifiable government largess? It seems Premier Campbell experienced a Paulian conversion on the road to Damascus…er…the 2010 Winter Olympics. His “new relationship” with B.C. First Nations seems designed to buy Olympic peace — apparently at any cost. If that’s indeed the case then soaring treaty costs — not soaring construction costs — will be the big ticket item for 2010. It would make the Montreal Olympics look like a bargain. The electorate wouldn’t be amused.

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