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Whistler businessman Dick Gibbons is the new CEO of the W5 group, the organization behind the December World Cup races in Whistler. Gibbons, who owns the Longhorn Saloon and Buffalo Bill’s, is a past president of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club. The W5 group consists of the Whistler Resort Association, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation and the Vancouver Ski Foundation. The group has secured a long-term commitment to bring men’s World Cup downhill and super G races to Whistler each December. In addition to overseeing the snowmaking and summer grooming programs underway on the Dave Murray Downhill Course, the group is now working to build a season-opening festival around the Dec. 7-8 races. Some participants in a Libertarian conference in Whistler starting Aug. 19 have ties to the American far right, anti-racist groups have charged, but as of Wednesday the local RCMP had not plans to increase security for the conference. Speaker Charles Duke, a Colorado state Senator, was asked by the militant Montana-based Freemen to mediate the standoff between the Freemen and the US government earlier this year. Anti racist groups have expressed concern that other speakers are also associated with extreme right organizations. MP Herb Grubel is also a speaker at the conference. The International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) is sponsoring the world conference; the theme is "Reclaiming our liberties from out-of-control governments." The group claims to promote ideas of individual freedom against excessive government control, but denies any links with militia groups. The Vancouver Sun and radio stations have publicized the conference, but as of Wednesday, the RCMP had not heard of anybody planning to protest at the conference. The Big Bike Ride for the Heart and Stroke Foundation is Monday, Aug. 19 in Whistler’s Marketplace.

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