Letters to the editor 

Re: Linda McGaw’s letter to the editor of Jan. 4

I obviously need to clear up a quote taken from me in the Dec. 28 th issue of Pique Newsmagazine. I made no reference to one product being better than another; my point only exists to the extent that the public should have a choice of whom they can purchase products from.

I also need to add, that you may have missed my quote saying: "(Whistler-Blackcomb) has done a great job." Our issue is in no way an attack on Whistler-Blackcomb products or its instructors. Our issue remains that the consumer should have a choice of whom they receive instruction from; just the same way you have the choice to express your opinion in the newspaper.

Joe Hallo

Alpina Ski School Ltd.

Careful where you tread

Thank you for your coverage of the Leadership Through Sustainable Innovations speaker series. I realize these are the first stages of the Natural Step Framework. I'd like to add one suggestion to be included in Whistler’s road to sustainability: Food. Whistler won't be very sustainable without it.

Whistlers Ecological Footprint not only affects Whistler itself, but the edge of this footprint runs right down the Pemberton Valley.

Estate homes are appearing and large farm fields are becoming off limits to agriculture. Farmland prices have risen far beyond the reach of people who wish to actually farm. The latest noticeable change is a massive pile of pre-load gravel, the base for a super-home, within the village of Pemberton. Last year this was some of the most productive agricultural land on the planet.

I hope the Early Adopters of the Natural Step Framework will adopt a few local farmers. Please consider local food production important enough to be included in this vision.

Bruce Miller


In the Dec. 28, 2001 edition of Pique Newsmagazine, Maurice Young Millennium Place (MY Place) was mentioned in the "Best of Whistler 2001" as both the Best and Worst Use of Public Funds. Although it is gratifying to be singled out for the Best Use category, this designation suggests a significant misperception as to how MY Place was funded.

Less than 6 per cent of the total project cost to build and furnish MY Place was contributed by the RMOW. The dollars contributed were not tax based dollars but were made up of (1) funds that were donated by developers to the municipality, to be redirected by the municipality to projects that provided community amenities; and (2) waived development fees. In many other B.C. municipalities, the construction of such a community facility would have been paid for entirely by the municipality. In Whistler the members of our community have generously provided almost all of the finances needed for this project with their donations of cash and services in kind. MY Place is a tribute to the over 125 volunteers and over 350 donors who have stepped forward and made significant contributions to ensure the success of this community gathering place.

It is important to note that although the RMOW provided only a small portion of the funds required, the mayor, the members of council and the municipal staff have been major supporters and contributors to this project. They have been a constant resource and source of expertise and assistance. Without their commitment and unending goodwill, this important community amenity would not exist today.

Now that the facility is in operation, our board of directors and staff encourage you to come and explore the many opportunities available: dance and music programs, daycare, spiritual programs, youth centre, concerts, recording studio, darkroom, video conferencing, quiet space, etc. MY Place is a facility with an array of activities and programs for all ages and interests – truly a community gathering place.

Stephen L. Milstein

Chair, Board of Directors

Maurice Young Millennium Place

I enjoy reading the Pique each week, however reading last week's issue I was concerned by a statement made by Bob Barnett in Opening Remarks. In this editorial, Bob writes about how things went wrong in 2001 using the Canadian Alliance party as an example. While the Canadian Alliance party may or may not be symbolic of how things went wrong in 2001, I fail to see how a transvestite running for leadership of the party is relevant to the example.

If Bob Barnett objects to this person's political skills or qualifications for the job he should state this. Rather it seems irrational and irrelevant to imply that a transvestite running for leadership of the party is an example of its downfall. Rather, this could be seen as an example of Canadian's tolerance and embracing of difference.

Perhaps Bob Barnett believes a black, homosexual or Muslim running for leadership of the Canadian Alliance would be an equally good example of its downfall. While Bob has some interesting and valid ideas to share, his writing would fare better with a stronger adherence to reason rather than the use of statements designed to gain support via bigotry.

Canadians have a lot of things to be proud of; prejudice is not one of them.

Nadine Thomson


Dear Community of Whistler,

On behalf of the children and parents of the Alta Lake School, I would like to thank you for your generous support over the last two years and especially for our Christmas concert and silent auction on Dec. 16. Wow! What a great night!

This community is unbelievably generous when it comes to supporting the non-profit sector. Knowing that small businesses in Whistler have extremely tight profit margins, outrageous rents and a constant stream of people knocking on their door for donations, I was very nervous and somewhat reluctant to ask for donations for our event. But, I was overwhelmed by the incredible support and interest shown by almost every business we approached. (Please see our thank you ad as there were too many names to list here.)

This support is helping us reach our goal of creating a new school in Whistler to provide children with a purposeful education, fostering inner-strength through intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual growth.

Thank you, Whistler!

Peggy Vogler

Fundraising Co-ordinator, The Alta Lake School

Marc Taillefer complained in a letter last week to the effect of having liquor confiscated from his car trunk last year by police, and having his bag searched for liquor this year. He suggested the police need more training.

Actually the police in Canada have very limited powers regarding public search and seizure. They have a job to do and so they may sometimes skirt the laws, however they usually do so by taking advantage of the ignorance of citizens. It is Mr. Taillefer who needs the education to learn about his basic legal rights.

In general, it is illegal for police to search your bags in public except in certain circumstances, such as: at airport security or customs; they have a warrant; you give them your consent; they have probable cause to believe an offence has been, is about to be, or is being committed involving the contents of the bags.

It is not illegal for them to ask to look in your bags, but you can say no under most circumstances. You usually agree to searches when you buy concert tickets (read the back).

Situations that may give the police probable cause include: a trained dog smells drugs; you have alcohol on your breath; an offence has been reported and you match the suspect description; you are in the vicinity of a crime scene; you are intoxicated in public. You are generally free to wander about in public areas free of illegal searches by police.

Alcohol may be consumed in public in: a bar or licensed venue; at an official campground where you are registered as an overnight guest; in a hotel; or your place of residence. Alcohol may be transported only from the place of purchase directly to a residence (temporary or permanent, including camprounds and hotels), or from residence to residence with no side stops (ie. you break the law when you go to the liquor store first and then stop at the drycleaners on your way home). It is legal to carry alcohol in a backpack as long as you are transporting it to a legal place of consumption. (ie. If the police ask, you are transporting it to a private residence. You need not tell them whose residence. That is private.) They cannot take it away unless you are breaking the law, especially if it is still sealed. They can take it away if you are drinking illegally in public places.

It is generally illegal for police to search your vehicle without probable cause, as described above. It is illegal in most provinces to carry open liquor in motor vehicles.

Most people think that if they are stopped by police they must identify themselves. You must identify yourself if you are operating a motor vehicle or bicycle, or if you are arrested. Most people do identify themselves when asked by police but again this is usually a matter of consent.

At the same time, however, it doesn't pay to be cocky with police, especially in a small place like Whistler. They can arrest you and detain you for 24 hours without charges, but of course, they don't usually do this unless you break the law or are an extreme jerk to them.

When police ask you your name a good polite response is "What do you want to know that for?" or "I prefer not to say." Ask them if you are under arrest, and if they say no, thank them and leave.

When they ask to search your bag, say: "I don't consent to a search. Do you have probable cause for a search? May I leave now?"

These type of responses force police to tread very carefully as to how they treat you, because they know that illegal searches and seizures are the stuff that lawsuits or internal disciplinary actions are made of. In general, unless you have committed an offence, you shouldn't be afraid to question why police want to detain you or search you.

Police in Canada are pretty good at following regulations, and they are really good if you know your rights and stand your ground. Also, remember, most of what the police are doing is with good intentions.

Randy Hawks


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