Letters to the editor 

Page 3 of 5


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.

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