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Courage and mayors under pressure

It's becoming more and more difficult to remain outside, or anonymous within, the issue of civil liberties and the Olympics. Sara Jennings and G.D.

It's becoming more and more difficult to remain outside, or anonymous within, the issue of civil liberties and the Olympics. Sara Jennings and G.D. Maxwell have taken public stands on deeply held personal beliefs and convictions and have done so in the face of overwhelming force and pressure to keep quiet. Stepping out like that requires tremendous courage and I imagine they might be feeling a bit lonely right now.

I also imagine that the mayors of Vancouver and Whistler are feeling some heat too. I know and respect both men as progressive leaders seeking to facilitate positive change. I suspect tremendous pressure has come to bear for them to advocate bylaws that restrict civil liberties. Such bylaws would not likely survive a Supreme Court challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that under most any other circumstance these mayors would likely oppose such measures.

Back in the 1930s and '40s, individuals, communities and entire nations took a stand against fascism - sacrificing dearly to settle the issue. Today, in the host cities of the 2010 Winter Olympics the lines may appear blurred and less well defined and yet the issue of civil liberties is just as important as ever.

Where do I stand? Where do you stand?

Mitch Rhodes



We should all be outraged

Re Our individual rights trumped by Olympics (Maxed Out, Oct. 22)

The rights and freedoms to which G.D. refers are contained in section 2 of the Charter. Unfortunately for us all, these rights and freedoms are not inalienable. Section 33(1) takes care of that - the so called "notwithstanding" clause - "Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter."

In other words, the rights and freedoms declared in section 2 exist only if the federal or provincial government say they do.

While the notwithstanding clause has not been officially invoked in this case, the cavalier disregard for the fundamental importance of such rights and freedoms suggests that its very existence has emboldened our elected representatives to assume that such rights are granted at their pleasure. We should all be outraged.

Christopher Shackleton



Showcasing Canada

Wake up people! This new bylaw gives the powers that be the right to enter your house if you had a protest sign in the your window that said "I love the idealism of the Olympics, but I hate the business of the Olympics" and remove it. Where are we... China?

This is all in the name of security, corporate and otherwise. The only security issue here is the "IN-security" of our politicians and bureaucrats' ability to hold the picture-perfect Games and then congratulate themselves for doing it!

Maybe the lawmakers should pass a bylaw prohibiting journalists, and people in general, from showing or writing about protests, then there would be no problem with the signage. Wait, the Chinese tried that.

This is a slippery slope. Part of the reason I thought for holding the Olympics here was to showcase our culture. The Canada and its culture I would like to showcase to the world is the one where we "value" differing opinions and "freely" allow their non-violent expression. We live in the "Best place on earth," as the provincial government ads like to remind us! Let's keep it that way and defend our Canadian rights to voice an opposing opinion.

Because of this letter I am now probably on some security watch list.

Keith Auchinachie



Unlucky B.C. Government Bill 13

Re: Our individual rights trumped by the Olympics (Maxed out Oct. 22)

It appears that our elected officials are more concerned about their public appearances at the Olympic events and impressing a tax-exempt, foreign entity like the IOC, than they are about people's rights.

The Innovative Research Group recently surveyed 3,416 Canadians about the 2010 Olympics, including 549 in B.C.

Asked if they were excited about the coming 2010 Games, only nine per cent said they were very excited, while 71 per cent of British Columbians said they were not very excited or not excited at all.

Then participants were asked if, based on what they had read, seen and heard about the benefits and costs of the Olympics, they thought it was a good idea. In B.C., only 20 per cent said it was a good idea. Forty-two per cent said it was a mistake, while 36 per cent said they wouldn't know until after the Games were over. (Two per cent didn't know). Not the kind of results you would expect with less than four months to go.

Our elected politicians are now resorting to heavy-handed tactics to keep everyone "on-message" and to prevent ambush marketing.

On Oct. 8, draconian Bill 13, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, was introduced in the B.C. Legislature, to control public dissent and to deliver a sanitized version of the Olympic Games.

If taxpayers object to their tax dollars being spent on the Owe-lympics and erect an anit-2010 sign in their window, the Olympic Gestapo will have the authority (under Bill 13) to enter their private property with only 24 hours notice to remove the offensive signs during the Olympic period.

So-called "violators" could be fined up to $10,000 per day and jailed up to six months for such a violation. However, Bill 13 includes an exception for celebratory signs that promote the Olympics.

The timing of Bill 13 and the fact that it only applies to the host cities of Richmond, Vancouver and Whistler is no coincidence either.

What's next for the Thought Police? Jailing people for not wearing red and white toques?

There's no need to relinquish our fundamental rights under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedom simply for a two-week corporate sporting event. Surely our municipal officials can put their time and money to better use.

Hopefully our decision-makers' sense of justice prevails and Bill 13 is S-Quatch-ed in its tracks.

Pina Belperio

Council of Canadians


Speaking of self-absorbed rants...

The Maxed Out column of Oct. 15th, combined with the Maxed Out column of Oct. 22 have led me to quote Pierre Trudeau, who pointed out that Canadians tend to be whiners and complainers who lack gratitude and appreciation for the glorious country we live in.

None moreso, in my opinion, than G.D. Maxwell.

In the first article he, or what passes for a literary voice, degraded an Olympic athlete for a "self-absorbed rant" and having "an inflated ego." Whereas in my view, Whistler is a tough place for most newcomers to gain acceptance and feel welcome. Even if her text was ill-considered, give her a break you file-wielding low-brows.

The article also states that after the Olympics the only things left will be "warm memories, employee housing, debt and the abomination on the side of Blackcomb." For years people have been kvetching about the lack of employee housing. Now we have it. The only constant is the pissing, moaning and complaining. Give it up.

Had the construction of the sliding centre gone wrong, the negative articles would have flowed non-stop. Instead, it is a masterful work of engineering. The sliding centre also has two teams of devoted employees, one for refrigeration and the other for track maintenance and safety. These women and men work very hard to provide the best possible experience for the athletes who use the facility for a demanding and dangerous sport. How have they done? It's the best in the world! Be proud, not loud.

In the second article, with reference to security issues at the Games, the writer states:

"Note: Kenny, it's time to take a stand. Can you really hold your tongue on this and not consign yourself to your own private hell?"

The reference to Mayor Melamed as Kenny can only be an(other) attempt to degrade him as a child or cartoon character. The point itself is, in my opinion, intellectually dishonest at best. The mayor can, and I'm sure does, voice opinions on that matter. The facts and law are that the mayor does not have the authority to determine the issues referred to, as the writer infers.

I'd like to see an article praising the mayor for his endless hard work, diligence in examining all issues in detail, pristine moral and ethical standards and efforts to make Whistler a better place for all of us to live.

The writer truly does appear to be maxed out and in need of a new, more positive program.

Gary Carsen



CSC takes responsibility seriously

Re: Where families gather? (Pique letters Oct. 15)

I would like to address some of the concerns raised by Andrew Haig in his letter to the editor and provide an update for the community about the progress of Contemporary Security Canada's (CSC) Temporary Use Permit application.

On Friday, Oct. 16, we met with the residents of Rainbow Estates where we had the opportunity to share information about our project and address their questions. To reassure those not in attendance, the following outlines the merits of our temporary housing solution for the Olympic Games security screening workforce at Rainbow Estates.

Like the Rainbow residents, peace and quiet is of paramount concern to CSC. Our primary objective for our temporary housing is to provide our staff with a quiet place to rest between their shifts. We have plans in place to mitigate noise from vehicles and will ensure our staff are respectful of the Rainbow neighbours at all times by limiting transport movements and curtailing any noisy gatherings. There will also be minimal construction noise, as the pre-fabricated, modular housing units will be assembled on site, reducing the need for significant construction.

It is important to note that in addition to the standard VANOC background check, CSC staff must also get their B.C. Security Professionals License through the provincial government, where they must pass a second background check which includes fingerprint verification. Furthermore, all recruits must complete our RCMP-approved training program, in order to work in their Games-time roles under the direction of the RCMP.

We shared these details with the community and the Resort Municipality of Whistler council, and received approval for our permit on Oct. 20th. We will be working closely with the RMOW staff to be sure we meet the requirements raised during the council meeting. We look forward to providing our Rainbow housing solution that is sensitive to the community needs while also supporting the delivery of a successful security workforce for the Games.

Todd Severson

Project Director,

Contemporary Security Canada


Love thy neighbour's paradise

On a beautiful summer morning I was driving to work when two awkward creatures waddled out in front of me trying to cross the highway. River otters. Only two of them. The big problem with this is that they were probably running from the river by the Fitzsimmons construction, crossing the highway and waddling smack dab into more space inhabited by us selfish humans. I'm assuming they were in search of the elusive marshland on the other side.

It doesn't end there. In the last two weeks I've seen more deer and coyotes then I can ever remember. The problem is that in all our hype and excitement for the Games our most precious citizens are being overlooked. Sure, we've got a lot of love for our bears but coyotes, deer and river otters are people too. Well actually they are not, and lucky for them.

Us humans go around paving parking lots and building a medal ceremony pavilion instead of making sure that our wild neighbours are going to be okay. Yeah, people think it's cool that they are sharing the Village Stroll or the main bus stop with a coyote on his evening walk. Me, I think it's tragic. I love him but I don't want to see him almost get hit by a bus or chased down the stroll by some drunk buffoons.

My point is, since the construction of the big Games has taken place I'm seeing more and more wildlife on the roads and in and around the village. This makes me terribly sad. It seems more important for us to put on a big show and impress the world then protect our furry citizens. It's always these poor fuzzy loveables that get killed or displaced because we're too dumb a species to get it right. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Hey did you know that I now officially live in that place where they've "paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Come on guys, love your neighbour!

Angie Nolan



The Unemployables

Name's Al, long time reader, first time writer. I've lived in Whistler for four years, but I wouldn't go calling myself a local without the blessing of a person who's been here for at least six. All of that is neither here nor there; my point is to inform you that no matter how long you've been here, you too may be forced out because no one will hire you.

To date I've delivered 54 resumes and failed 16 interviews, I was offered two jobs but the hours were far too limited to even cover rent. Now I must limp to Vancouver, friendless and in debt with my tail tucked between my legs, hoping for employment.

Maybe it's because I'm overweight, male, or because I play Rock Band. Maybe it's because I love Feet's articles, not because I always agree with him (most of the time I think he's totally off), but because he's funny, well-written and most importantly really loves and knows his source material.

All I know is that I'm a loyal and hard-working individual who has found himself unemployable in a town he's loved and defended for four years. Best of luck to everyone this season! I hope you get a chance to enjoy the best that Whistler has to offer (at a cheaper rate).

Keith, Marcia, Jeff, Cory, Adrian, and Heidi: thanks for putting up with me and giving me reason to be happy.

Alvar Nunez de las Cuevas

Formerly of Whistler


Summer efforts recognized

As varying snowlines begin to inspire impassioned anticipation of winter, I have one lingering heartfelt note of gratitude for a group of environmental volunteers who role up their sleeves and make a difference in our community.

Habit Improvement Team (a.k.a. HIT), which is facilitated by Whistler Blackcomb and brings together a broad community base of volunteers, completed numerous projects throughout the summer to help improve the natural ecosystems of Whistler. This year's projects included: restoring the natural flow of a creek in Singing Pass, erosion control along Highway 86, transplanting Mountain Ash and trail maintenance in the Whistler Demonstration Forest. The team also focuses on social projects and this year assisted in the assembly of the new Myrtle Philip playground and packaging a substantial aid package of winter clothing for the mountain communities of Romania.

Over the course of the summer we had close to 200 participants, which included kids, dogs, the odd bear, and some international guests - travelling philanthropists who really got to connect to the people and values of our community! Thank you to each of you! May your stewardship of our beloved playground be rewarded with lifelong Olympic memories and a 20cm rule gone wild!

Arthur De Jong

Whistler Blackcomb


Dream team came later

In last weeks issue Claire Ogilvie erroneously reported that the U.S. dream team competed in men's basketball in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul. The 1988 men's U.S. team was assembled from division 1 NCAA players and finished with a bronze medal. It was at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona that the U.S. dream team was assembled and went on to win gold with an undefeated record of 8-0.

David Drysdale



Rock this way

This letter was addressed to Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.

From one addict to another, I trust you, of all people, will understand that I am unable to stop myself from writing this letter. The music of your band has once more led me down the "all or nothing" path that is destined to end in utter disappointment or complete enlightenment - I'm hoping for the latter.

If Wayne's World 2 taught us anything, it was to watch for clues that upon first appearance may seem indifferent, but with further inspection will reveal a deeper meaning and possible insight into one's personal mission.

I have had two such instances in the past 24 hours:

1. A dream. The naked Indian remained unseen; however, you and your rather sensual attire naturally took his place. We were on a bus, not unlike that of the Merry Pranksters, and we discussed that the party was to be started.

2. An Oreo. One side of the Oreo had flopped upside down during production, creating a rare imprint on the icing beneath. By no coincidence, I was able to perfectly remove the top layer leaving before me the unmistakable pattern of the famous cookie. Written backwards it read: .  I think you will find it undeniable that one cannot regard this symbol without alluding to the first half of your musical group's name.

These two visions encouraged my quest to appear with utmost clarity - like Wayne & Garth before me, I am to bring Aerosmith to town!

I will no longer keep from you the secret of my location. I hail from Whistler, British Columbia, Canada - home of the largest ski resort in North America and host venue of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games . While we have been lucky enough to be recognized time and again as a world class destination for tourists, a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and extremists, and a leader in sustainability (ever important following the wake of the global climate and economic crises); we are now emerging with another strength that has for many years been our best kept secret - culture , especially that of music and arts.

On this note, I cannot help but notice that your quintet has been in the news of late. The circumstances surrounding the cancellation of your recent tour were disappointing for all involved, ticket holders and band members alike. However, as one door is never closed without the opening of another, I feel it my duty as a devout fan to inform you of a larger than life opportunity that lies on your doorstep. An opportunity for you to show the naysayers that Aerosmith, the greatest rock 'n' roll band in American history, remains just that.

My vision is as follows:

The TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival , a celebration of sport and culture, is to take place in Whistler this spring - April 16-25, 2010 - one month after the eyes of the world will rest on us for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This yearly festival is home to a free outdoor concert series, showcasing many talents from far and wide and this year Aerosmith will be the headliner. Although I would guess that your band is accustomed to being paid far more for your second-to-none talents, you will have recognized the power of the spirit that lies in Whistler and wish to be part of such a wholly awesome experience, not only putting yourselves back on top of your game, but solidifying our town as a place to be. We can only do this as a team and I wish for you to be part of it.

I have enclosed two pictures - one of the Oreo and another of the crowd at the festival. As you can see, neither is to be ignored.

I eagerly await your reply.

Show your support at or by joining the Facebook group Come hither Aerosmith, rock this way!

Nicole Windsor


[email protected]