Letters to the editor for the week of January 30th 

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Mideast balance?

There are approximately 330,000 Jewish Canadians; over 1,000,000 Muslim Canadians.

If, as Stephen Harper would have you believe, his Middle Eastern policies are balanced and supported by the vast majority of Canadians, then I look forward to his announcement that he is taking three plane-loads of Canadian Muslim clerics and lobbyists on a tour of the Middle East.

Van Clayton Powel

Highway art for safer driving

The recent fatalities of 2013 on Hwy 99, and all those that have occurred since 1966 have got me thinking about how we can further reduce crashes, fatalities and serious injuries on Highway 99.

Highway 99 is dangerous, always will be, and it requires a high degree of focus and skill as a driver in order to travel it safely time and time again through its various seasons, moods and conditions.

The difference between driving Highway 99 on a clear, dry summer day with light traffic and a stormy winter night when you experience heavy two way traffic, blizzard conditions, and snow covered roads that transition into high winds and heavy rain or vise versa, is the difference between highway heaven and highway hell.

There are just so many different factors at play on the road, and even off, that can determine outcomes of this journey.

Recently, Penny Reinecke has kindly taken the time to remind everyone in Whistler what she, her family, friends and all of us lost on Highway 99 three years ago, when her lovely daughter Ellie was struck and killed at only age 24.

This has also happened to many other people over the years and for each of these events I am sure we have all felt impacted in one way or another.

I imagine Canada could dedicate more police resources to strictly enforce regulation, behaviour and speed limits on Highway 99, but these are only a few factors in many of the fatalities and serious injuries that have occurred.

Perhaps we need to change our mindsets in how we approach that journey be it for only a few short steps, kilometres, or for the full distance of Highway 99 — (as a way to do this I am proposing that we install) Highway 99 Spirit Trees.

They would stand as bold reminders that our focus and responsibility is to reach our destination alive and well.

This idea of spirit trees would require the participation of a number of people both in permissions granted, financial support, design and build, as well as installation. These would be permanent, fixed sculptural, solar powered, illuminating structure installations that are both aesthetically beautiful in daylight, as they are at night, and would be located along Hwy 99 as constant reminders of the collective requirements needed to make one's journey a safe one for all that share the road.

These installations would honour the many lives lost to date on Highway 99, which are all too many over the years.

So I am reaching out to others that may share this interest because it will take various skill sets to do this correctly, creatively and in a manner that represents and serves the purpose at hand, which is beautiful remembrance, warning of potential danger, and creating safety beacons that would remind us to stay focused and drive, walk and ride safely.

I am sending this idea to Pique as an initial meeting place for shared, common ground, so that connections can be made with the above in mind. All feedback and input is most welcomed.

Brian Wolfgang Becker

Burnaby

(Editor's note: Please go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com for the full version of this letter.)

Get back on your bike

I'm not talking about bike theft, I'm talking about you, the person who has a bike in storage. Where'd you go? You seemed to ride your bike everywhere in the summer, but as soon as temperatures dip below 10 degrees C you hide your bike.  

For a community that prides itself on being active I'm completely blown away with the lack of people in Whistler riding bikes year round.  

It seems like driving to Base II, Creekside, or Lots 4/5 is the default come winter. Pretty hypocritical for a town that prides itself on being active and sustainable if you ask me!

Consider the fact that most people wear winter clothes all winter long, (so) riding in cold weather for short trips (is) actually pretty comfortable!  

The low level of snow on the roads this season makes it even easier than usual.  I've been riding my beach cruiser almost every day this winter, and once you factor for slippery ground conditions, and increased lighting needs with shorter days, it's actually really easy to ride bikes all winter long.  

I'd love to see more folks using bikes for short trips about town, year round!  So dust off your roughest bike, take advantage of the low snow cover, and ride your bike into town!

Kyle MacDonald

Whistler

Squamish sunken tugboat monitored

In response to letters from constituents regarding the sunken tugboat, Elf, in addition to specific inquiries received from elected officials from the recent Howe Sound Forum meeting, I am writing to share the latest news.

I have contacted officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to determine lines of responsibility and appropriate responses.DFO informed me that the Canadian Coast Guard, a division of DFO, is responsible for ensuring clean-up of all ship-source and mystery spills into waters under Canadian jurisdiction.

Because of this, the coast guard's Oil Spill Response Team is on the scene, supported by Environment Canada and the BC Ministry of the Environment.

The coast guard should be commended for its prompt response, having arrived on the scene the same day of the sinking, and taking immediate action to contain the spill and prevent further pollution from entering the channel.The RCMP is also conducting an investigation.

According to the Fisheries Act, there may be a point where the lead on responding switches from the coast guard to Environment Canada, based on an assessment of the potential harm from the spill.

Canadian law places the onus for the clean-up on the polluter. The coast guard's role is to advise the polluter of their responsibilities. The coast guard also must approve the polluter's plans for clean up.

Once satisfied, the coast guard assumes a monitoring role, providing advice and guidance on the clean-up. If the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to comply, the coast guard will assume the overall management of the clean-up operation.

However, it should be known that this does not lessen the polluter's responsibility and/or liability for the environmental impact.

Like many of you, I will continue to monitor the situation in Squamish carefully, and will assist in any way I can.

John Weston

M.P.,West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country

Constituents being squeezed

Dear Mr. Weston, I have read your letters since you were elected and feel that you paint a very rosy picture of what your government is achieving.

This last one is in the same vein (Pique, Jan. 23), and I agree with you that it is a step in the right direction to allow MPs to vote on the best interests of their constituents. I wonder if you were not subject to the Whip how different your vote in parliament would be?

From the less-than-privileged point of view of people who are not elected, there is no chance of debate on important issues such as salmon farming (three letters before yours in the same issue of Pique), Enbridge North Gateway pipelines, mandatory sentencing for drug use, "free" trade agreements with Europe and China, and a whole lot more that run counter to the best interest of the population and the environment and serve only multinational corporations.

Your "majority" government was elected with 39.62 per cent of the people who actually showed up to vote while 49 per cent didn't bother, that represents less the one fifth of the population. The other 80 per cent either don't agree with (Prime Minister) Mr. (Stephen) Harper, or couldn't give a hoot about their future.

In your riding the average hard-working person is feeling more and more squeezed by cuts to social programs and crippling taxes. The privileged few (your word) such as yourself get (at least) $160,200.

That is a huge incentive to toe the line and change is not likely under these conditions.

I ask you, as the moral person that I assume you to be, to talk to the other four-out-of-five people in the Sea to Sky riding and vote in their best interest in parliament.

It may cost you your perks and seat, but if you are kicked out you could open a restaurant and claim that if we buy your pizza our kids will get straight As, wash the dishes and be perfect angels (as one chain does).

This is false advertising at best. In my mind you have two choices, either be the representative that you have been elected to be, or stop selling us a pig in a poke. I sincerely hope that your next letter will have a little more good news for us. 

Rob Neaga

Squamish

Does my opinion matter?

This letter is in regards to the negative press about pit bulls.

The misinformation published has had a very negative effect on my life — I don't want people to be afraid of my puppy, and I don't want to live in fear of them, so I am writing this in hopes that something positive will come out of it.

My dog proves to me every day that pit bulls can have a gentle, friendly nature and are no different from any other dog. She socializes at the dog park and has made more friends than I have, including two teacup poodles, which she played with more gently than I would have imagined possible.

She saved my dad from a cougar (not with her teeth), and when she was attacked by an unattended German Shepherd she didn't even consider fighting back; she just tried to get away and I had to save her. She is my companion not my weapon. Discrimination is wrong black, white or pit bull.

If your dog loves you and you find yourself in danger they will protect you, that is their nature. People do not need to create attack dogs, or use them for sinister purposes, but they do. Why? Who are they? Drug dealers? Gangsters? I say crack down on the criminals giving pit bulls a bad reputation.

Fear the owner not the dog — use your common sense.

To ban pit bulls would make my Rednose and I refugees — we were both born here in B.C. and in my opinion we deserve the right to exist in peace.

Kathryn Bloy

Whistler

Fundraiser thanks

On Jan. 4, the Pemberton Childcare Society did a bottle drive, and burger and beer fundraiser for the Pemberton Childcare Center.  

The board would like to thank all the parents who volunteered their time to collect and sort the bottles.  We would also like to thank our devoted managers, Pat Bencharski and Ola Perkins for their work that day.  

Finally, thanks to Richard at The Wood for hosting our burger and beer portion of the fundraiser.  

Investing in children is investing in the future, and our children are so lucky to go to such an amazing daycare with such amazing women.

Pemberton Childcare Society Board of Directors

Pemberton

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