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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

No Room at the Inn 

As Christmas approaches, Martha and Henry, in Calgary are facing the same problems that Mary and Joseph encountered a little over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem. Everywhere they turn the signs say there’s “no room” at the inn.

Although the province has received close to seven billion dollars in oil and gas royalties this year alone, the trickle down effect has yet to reach Calgary. The flu season is still considered to be weeks away and all the hospital beds are full. There is not only no room at the inn but the CHR is facing an operational deficit of more than fifty million dollars.

There is no room in the classroom. The Learning Commission had already come to the undeniable conclusion that the overcrowding experienced in Calgary classrooms was above the provincial norm and that was before another two hundred and fifty teachers were released in addition to care-taking and support staff. To date the CBE has received six million dollars of the additional six hundred million dollars a year province wide that the commission believed was necessary to restore public education.

There’s no room at the University of Calgary due in part to the fact that the U of C receives fifteen hundred dollars less per student in provincial grants than the University of Alberta, located in Edmonton. As a result those students who can afford the tuition that has more than doubled in the past decade are crowded into not so temporary portables.

There is no room in the budget for seniors on fixed incomes. Their provincially covered health care premiums and medications were taken away ten years ago. They can ill afford their “fair assessment” inner city property taxes and dread the notion of being forced to enter long term care facilities where rents have risen by over forty percent without any proportional improvement in the number of care givers.

There is no room in the courthouses to hear the additional cases which arise as the result of an unprecedented advantage seeking population boom of over one hundred thousand in the past decade.

There is no room in the shelters that are forced to go cap in hand to the province every month for the funding necessary to provide a mat on an overcrowded floor. The churches with their “In from the Cold” programs have attempted to bridge the gap, but they too have been forced to turn away single men in search of shelter because of the overwhelming number of homeless families. A warm hay filled stall would look pretty attractive to a person trying to survive the winter’s cold on Calgary’s streets.

This Christmas there is no room in Calgary.

Harry B. Chase

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