As I drove to the University from the group-home I sleep at, I was confronted with a city at its very worst. The big snow dump has brought this city to its knees. What is normally a half hour / fourty five minute commute took me almost two hours. I saw accidents, stranded motorists, and an overall unwillingness to help due to everyone (and I do not exclude myself from this, and am partially making this critique on myself) being too fucking busy and caught up in getting from one corner of this city to another.I see in Calgary a city at its worst right now. Perhaps it is going to get better, but I think that if it does, it is only getting better for the upper and middle segment of this city. When you have a situation where, as the paper said this morning, rent is going up (link), that is going to effect a very real segment of this city. People who work in oil and gas and in big business downtown, who own their own homes (and perhaps a few rental properties on the side) are not being effected by this increase.
In the group home I work in, I work entirely with immigrants – largely from Africa, who moved to Calgary with the hope that life would be better here in Calgary. There were jobs here! Life is great! Stampede! Guess what they find? They find that they can only get work in places like group-homes, Tim Hortons or other kinds of service jobs (that everyone says pay really great money – “hey did you know that you can make $14 an hour working at Tim Horton’s?” is something you hear often. Have you ever tried to raise four kids on $14 an hour?).
Guess what else they find? That they have to work (at least) 2 jobs in order to pay what it costs to live in this City. One man I work with, from Sri Lanka – works, on average, 20 hours a day. Some of those hours, like the ones I work, are sleep shift at another group-home.
Guess what else they find? They find that this “cowboy” culture isn’t very receptive to Black people. They often tell stories of the shit they deal with on a DAY to DAY basis, because some people are concerned about losing the “Calgary way of life” and visible minorities are the obvious culprits in that.
So, yeah, I guess we still have Ranchman’s, maybe Stampede is a lot of fun, and don’t the Flames kick ass?