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The Hollywood writers’ strike ended several weeks ago and this week the comedies made a triumphant return to televisions and apparently Calgary’s city hall.

Yesterday it was announced that Alberta would be raising its minimum wage to a measly $8.40 (keeping in mind I mean measly for Alberta…not Canada). That means someone working a fulltime job that pays minimum wage will make a sad $1,260 a month. Yes you read that right. Considering taxes it’s not unreasonable to think that person would actually pull in less than $1000. And correct me wrong but I’m pretty sure is the most oil and gas employees monthly RSP contributions.

But an extra 40 cents is an extra 40 cents. Try telling that to an engineer.

Just hours later, those overworked and underpaid alderman (over $90,000 annually) down in Calgary’s city hall announced that if we were to feel safe in our C-Train Park and Ride parking lots that we were probably going to have to start paying for it. Safety is apparently a luxury now.

Um…what? Does the city really want us to start paying to feel safe in public spaces that they provide? Isn’t that what the city police officers are already supposed to be doing? How is it that city hall can cough up more than enough police officers for the overrated “red mile” but if women don’t want to be raped or murdered in parking lots they are going to have pay $2? I knew the Canadian Dollar was gaining strength but this is a little crazy. I guess the dangers of being flashed by a drunken Flames fan far out weigh those being mugged or beaten up.

But surely this is all a joke. Perhaps Calgary is somehow becoming the victim of the biggest Punk’d ever. The C-Train is already ridiculously packed, slow, unreliable and unsafe. And now we are going to have to pay for past mistakes in planning in Canada’s most prosperous city? And does the city really think that the ones paying to use the C-train really have the extra money to pay for this? No, the people taking the public transit are probably the ones who are celebrating their .40 cent raise.

The ones that have money to afford that extra $2 a day ($10/week, $40/month 480/year =half a minimum wage pay cheque) are the ones who get downtown parking paid for by their respective companies. Parking rates are already ridiculous. Why not tax those companies who are not supporting the usage of the C-Train system and use that money to keep our citizens safe. Or is the city just too afraid to ask so they’ll just go after the little guy?

When will the city stop punishing its citizens for not having that fancy engineering ring on their pinky finger? Minimum wage and low earning workers are the ones keeping this city alive. They are the ones commuting more than an hour each day just to serve coffee or clean up after our messes.

At the end of the day (and this post) the point is this: The City of Calgary should provide safe parking lots and transit for free because it’s the right thing to do. And not charge its commuters extra because aldermen are worried about their safety as they drive past them in their cars (paid for by their car allowance) to their (free) parking stalls.

Mike Morrison