Letters to the Editor for the week of October 15th 

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Fisheries a loser under Conservatives

We need to examine John Weston's portrayal of himself as an MP who stands up for fisheries issues in the House of Commons.

Many Sea to Sky citizens and I started meeting with John Weston in 2009 as part of the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable. When we first started meeting with John, there was a desire to listen to our concerns and try to effect real change on fisheries issues.

Initially we saw how this type of dialogue could lead to some successful outcomes. First and foremost was the calling of the Cohen Inquiry into the crash of the Fraser River Sockeye back in 2009.

By no means was it just the work of John Weston or the Sea Sky Fisheries Roundtable that led this inquiry being called, but John carried our concerns forward and stood up in Parliament to raise the issue, to which Prime Minister Harper responded by announcing a federal inquiry.

Then something changed in John's approach after they won a majority in May 2011 following the election. Many meetings would take place where consultation was for self-promotion rather than serious meaningful dialogue. Photo opportunities and newsletters were being mailed out to constituents promoting successful outcomes on fisheries when none of the Sea to Sky Fisheries roundtable participants could see it.

I am not sure if the message from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to John was the reason for this change in his approach, or if it was all "smoke and mirrors" from the beginning.

John stood by and watched as his federal Conservative government ignored almost all of 75 recommendations on the Cohen Inquiry, despite spending $37 million of taxpayers' dollars.

He preached the benefits of the Conservatives gutting the Fisheries Act and downsizing of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) fisheries habitat staff and DFO habitat offices from 63 to 15 (including closing one in John's riding). He had no answers when they put the National Energy Board (instead of DFO) in charge of assessing potential impacts from oil pipelines to fish and fish habitat, and gave almost free range for expansion of the salmon farming industry.

Despite numerous meetings with John raising concerns about these issues it fell on deaf ears. It felt like there was almost a fear of speaking out for the concerns of his citizens of his riding. We were told be patient and asked to stand and smile for next photo opportunity.

Unfortunately, the John Weston I initially got to know and voted for in the last election can't penetrate the wall surrounding the Prime Minister's Office, despite any good intentions.

Now John Weston simply appears like a backbencher, skilled at messaging great losses for Canadians as wins right before an election. This time around, I'll be voting strategically for a different person to represent us in Ottawa.

Dave Brown

Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable

We support Pam Goldsmith-Jones

This election, it's time for change in Ottawa and the Sea to Sky. There is no better person to usher in positive change and represent our riding than Liberal candidate Pam Goldsmith-Jones.

As mayor of West Vancouver, Pam was a committed community leader and her public service record reflects a commitment to collaboration and consultation. Her inclusive, accessible approach to leadership makes Pam the best candidate to represent us at a national level, where her experience can make a difference on important issues like infrastructure improvements, environmental concerns and First Nations relations. 

We heartily endorse her as our next MP.

Sue and Bob Adams, Frank and Donna Savage, Cathy Jewett and Jim Horner, Mo Douglas, Anne Townley


Dishonourable Conservative Party behaviour

With the election almost upon us, the Conservative Party of Canada could be given power again instead of obliterated off the political map. The Conservative Party has continually attacked the fundamental principles of democracy and undermined the proper function of Parliament over the past 10 years. It has lied and will continue to lie to citizens, and play us all for fools.

If you voted Conservative in the past three elections, and/or are considering voting Conservative now, know that you are (knowingly or unknowingly) supporting contempt of Parliament, muzzling of scientists and civil servants, and corruption and theft of public money by Conservative-appointed senators and Conservative Party MPs, among many other misdeeds and crimes.

We now have a report by SumOfUs showing 350 Tory donors were given lucrative government appointments in the past 10 years. You can get the details on www.jobsfordonations.ca.

All citizens need to reflect on these issues, and ask themselves: Would I condone cheating, lying, bullying, law-breaking and abuse of authority in any aspect of my life? Why would I condone it in relation to government and governance?

The Conservative Party pretends to develop the economy, but it has signed trade agreements that give away Canadian resources and sovereignty. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in these agreements grant ridiculous new rights and privileges to multinational corporations that formally prioritize corporate rights over the right of governments to regulate and govern their own affairs.

Through these ISDS provisions corporations can avoid domestic courts and directly challenge any policy or action of the Canadian government in secret tribunals with no public awareness or appeal.

This is dishonourable and execrable behaviour by the Conservative Party of Canada, and Canadian citizens must become aware and hold people to account for their actions.  

Ian Holl


Harper is best choice Oct.19

Having always put my trust in local media for accurate non-biased coverage of election news in the past I can't help but notice something is missing.

Balanced reporting seems to be absent during the lead up to Oct 19.  While the recent editorials try to present a median approach the message comes across as a milder anti-Government slant than opinion pieces. Rather than articulate reasons to cast my vote towards their choice candidate what we read are rants of negative press.

I attended the all-candidates meetings in Whistler and Pemberton to make opinions for myself.

There is a lot of aggression towards the present government, but I never get any real answers as to why. Election signs are being defaced and destroyed, a new low for Whistler.

One attendee even verbally assaulted (Conservative candidate John Weston's wife) during the Whistler debate.

At the Pemberton meeting the Liberal candidate boasted (about) posing in a semi-nude calendar to protest construction of Highway 99 at Horseshoe Bay.

After further research on her six years as West Vancouver Mayor there was even more interesting information. Archiving the annual budgets from those years we see a 78-per-cent increase of administrative costs, and if law enforcement and election costs are included this rises to 165 per cent over six years while local West Vancouver population numbers were flat.

This is not indicative of prudent financial management.

Looking at a present-day example of Liberal leadership in Ontario we see a similar policy on a provincial scale. Ontario's debt of $292 billion with monthly interest payments of $1 billion. The solution to sell Hydro one assets for $9 billion will float their loans for nine months! Selling off public assets to pay interest on loans?

Another very real concern is the loss of 300,000 manufacturing jobs when Ontario was once considered our industrial heartland.

Noticeably absent from any recent media coverage would be a "good news" piece on how our federal government is handling finances. As I am approaching retirement age the CPP Funds are important to me. Return on investments with our CPP portfolio have been strong — 2014 realized a 16.5 per cent return on investment and 2015 saw 18.7 per cent return. This has guaranteed sustainability of our pension plan 75 years to the future. That is sound financial planning.

Those who read local newspapers would have benefitted from exposure to issues such as these when determining the best candidate to represent our riding.

I believe in Canada, and all things considered our present government is the best choice. I support John Weston and will cast my vote for him on Oct. 19!

Susan Anderson


Greens lead the polls

The Greens lead the polls... in just one riding in Canada. And it's not this one.

In 2011, Stephen Harper got his majority by just 6,201 votes over 14 ridings. How many people voted for the Greens that election? Over 576,000. And how many of those votes mattered? About 32,000 — one seat elected.

This means almost 95 per cent of Green votes were wasted and almost certainly gave Harper his majority. So if you want another four years of Harper, vote Green on Monday Oct.19; it's exactly what Harper wants you to do.

Van Clayton Powel


Three sides to a story

It is always with great interest that I read the Pique Newsmagazine each and every week and often I find the (content) very interesting and sometimes a little provocative and incomplete in (its) research and understanding of what is actually taking place in the Sea to Sky corridor.

I learned very early in my business career that there are always three sides to find the truth. Your side, my side, and somewhere in the middle is the truth.

Over the last few months Pique Newsmagazine has written a number of articles that cover what is taking place just north of Squamish, namely the Garibaldi at Squamish all seasons resort (GAS). As with many of the news reports about the Garibaldi at Squamish all seasons resort only one side of the discussion seems to have been given audience.

On Sept. 11, your newspaper carried a story on a report issued by MNP consultants that leaves the impression that the consultant was hired due to its experience and understanding of the ski industry in North America and globally.

There is now a report from the SE Group that contradicts the MNP report, and in fact casts a doubt as to that consultant's capabilities and experience to write that report in the first place.

The SE Group is a recognized industry expert and has been planning for ski areas and all season reports for over 50 years. This consultant found that:

• MNP's expertise in Mountain Resort Planning and Development is questionable. MNP is by no means a mountain resort expert. From what (the SE Group) can tell most of what (it does) is tax and accounting advising. From (its) own website: "Your MNP team provides tailored expertise in tax, accounting and a wide range of business advisory services."

• Nothing in (its) list of services even suggests (it does) visitation projections, or any tourism-related studies. Furthermore the firm description says nothing to suggest (it has) ever done anything like this in the past;

• MNP simply used an approach of "pulling" generic and current facts from various sources to rebuff our (the SE Group) findings that are based on our 57 years of experience working in the mountain resort industry.

In response to questions about the "cluster effect" and the so called "Whistler Blackcomb-Garibaldi scenario," the cluster effect has been experienced and documented throughout North America, particularly in the regions we refer to in our report — Colorado Rockies and Utah.

MNP only interviewed five "industry insiders," most of whom operate in a much wider tourism field and they were all geographically isolated to British Columbia, which as we have acknowledged in our report currently has a somewhat weak "cluster effect."

These "experts" don't see strong evidence for a "cluster effect" in the wider industry because the effect is weak in B.C. and that is their experience level.

In addition, we (SE Group) have never used the term "Whistler Blackcomb-Garibaldi scenario." SE Group did not say, and did not intend to suggest, that the cluster effect would be realized solely between GAS and Whistler Blackcomb in specific. We said there would be a cluster effect with many B.C. resorts, particularly those within the Coastal range. Squamish and GAS would be one of the entry points into this region.

This magazine article may have falsely empowered the readers to believe that Whistler will be negatively affected by the development of an all seasons resort just north of Squamish in the Garibaldi Mountain area.

The SE Report is available and gives a more detailed and comprehensive overview of the entire marketplace. It is far more detailed than any report that has been generated so far by any participant in this development effort whether they be for or against the project.

This report needs to be considered before any opinion is substantiated whether for or against the Garibaldi at Squamish project for an all season resort.

Bill Cavanagh 


SWAP thanks

Whistler Mountain Ski Club created the vision of the amazingly successful, annual Whistler Turkey Sale over 30 years ago.

Originally hosted at Myrtle Philip school, then the convention centre, it was relocated at the kind offer and request of Whistler Blackcomb to the popular tents at the base of Blackcomb.

The vision of the ski swap has spread throughout B.C. and across the country, and Whistler should take great pride in the fact that this is a homegrown idea.

The club continues to work in close cooperation with Whistler Blackcomb, as the volunteer managers, coordinators and ambassadors of the event. Over 100 volunteer coaches, staff, parents, and young athletes, wearing our legendary pink and black volley T-shirts, set up the event, run the check-in/check-out and provides the key ambassador roles.

We do our best answering the hundreds of questions from the public. 

On behalf of the ski club we would like to thank Whistler Blackcomb, the supporting retailers, all the dedicated public that sold gear at the swap, and finally all of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club members that came out and worked hard to continue to make the event a huge success.

A sincere thank you to everyone.

Dan Jepsen

Voluntary Ski Swap Manager

Block-party success

Thank you to all our supporters that came together to showcase such a fabulous Block Party!

We loved seeing so many families participate and children having a blast. We would like to thank the team at the Whistler Centre for Sustainability for granting us the $500 to get the party started, and Nesters, which graciously donated $200 so that we could put out some great treats too!

Some awesome community members came out to share some knowledge and history too. Thanks to the Whistler Museum (Brad), The Whistler Emergency Preparedness Group (Erin), Carla our devoted face painter, The Discrepancies for playing some rocking tunes and Dominos Pizza so that none of us had to cook.

Thanks again to everyone that helped out. Let's do it again next year.

Christie Scrase

Robyn Akehurst

Angela and Jeff Ertel

The Neighbourhood of Rainbow

Cyclists need to obey the laws

It seems as though if you have two wheels underneath you, normal laws don't exist.

You can hop on or off the road at any moment, weave in and out of traffic — part car, part pedestrian — you want to be in the road like a car, but won't follow the rules of the road. This has become a big problem.

Growing up in Montreal we had to license our bikes. That's something we have to consider, along with more education and road testing.

Also, licensing would slow the theft problem, as you can't license a bike without the stamped serial number on the base of the bikes.

Michael Deschenes


Thank you David MacKenzie

I would like to say thank you to David MacKenzie of the Pemberton Valley Lodge.

After several years of being at the helm of Tourism Pemberton, he has decided to step-down as the president.

Most people will have no idea as to the amount of work that David has put into promoting Pemberton and encouraging visitors to come to our special valley and share in all that we have to offer.

His efforts will surely be missed.

Tyler Schramm


The real dangers of Woodfibre LNG

A comprehensive column, outlining the dangers of a LNG facility at Woodfibre, and the devastation that could occur along the Sea to Sky corridor and in West Vancouver in the event of an accident, appeared in the North Shore News on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

I urge everyone to read it.

What is confusing is that Wade Davis has been supporting a party that is not opposed to LNG or fracking.

On Sept. 11, on the waterfront in West Vancouver, Justin Trudeau was asked by a reporter about his stance on the issue. He responded, "We're working with Canadians to ensure that we are building a better future that understands you can't make a choice between what's good for the environment and what's good for the economy — they go together."

Pressed further, he replied, "We need to create good jobs and a strong future while protecting the environment for future generations."

"So you have no position? " the reporter continued, in an effort to elicit a definitive answer.

"We're going to be having debates in the coming weeks, I look forward to you attending those as well, " answered Trudeau.

I wholeheartedly agree with Wade Davis that the LNG plant is not worth the risk, but the greater risk lies is in voting for a party whose purpose is to avoid telling us the truth about its stance on an issue that is of great concern to many of us in our riding.

Rose Dudley

Lions Bay

The big picture

I might not always agree with GD Maxwell but I always enjoy his column "Maxed Out."

A few weeks ago I would have agreed with him that Pam (Goldsmith-Jones) had the only chance for the (Anyone But Conservative) crowd. But in politics, things change fast, and a little birdie told me it is now neck and neck with John (Weston — Conservative), Pam (Liberal) and Ken (Melamed — Green Party), sorry Larry (Koopman — NDP).

So let's just suppose Ken wins this riding and the Greens win a half a dozen seats or so. The Greens could potentially hold the balance of power.

Do you want an MP that just one of maybe 100 others in their party with basically no say, or do you want one of say six that would automatically be a player in Ottawa?

Ray Mason


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