As predicted the Arctic air has hit Alberta with vengeance, weekend temperatures when you factor in wind chill, are a mercury solidifying -37C. For those of you that do not use the Celsius scale -40 Fahrenheit is the same as  -40 Celsius.

The City of Calgary has spent considerable time and effort to try and ignore the ever increasing number of homeless people residing in the downtown area.

I wrote an article about the oncoming crisis a few days ago. Alas my prediction in that article has come true. The reports are sketchy, however it appears that two people in Edmonton have died as a result of the cold, and one person in Calgary.

In what can only be viewed as ‘too little, and too late’, the city council has been embarrassed into opening a temporary shelter on the Stampede Grounds. This facility will be able to accommodate 300 people.

This sounds like good news, however it could be better. This city sponsored project will only be open between 8pm and 8am. That means that for 12 frostbitten hours people will need to find other resources.

All of the agencies are way beyond capacity; the Calgary Drop-In Centre can comfortably accommodate 500 people in the day use area. That number is being exceeded by a factor of 2!

Much of this inhumanity could have been avoided if the city had been more proactive. Instead the city has preferred to ignore the situation; in fact the city seems to prefer fixing the issue by making it illegal.

This trend of criminalization of the homeless is common among many North American cities.

The famous quote “mans inhumanity to man”, rings so true.

One death is one death too many. One frostbitten finger, is one too many. Alberta is the richest province in Canada, so rich that earlier in the year every man woman and child living here received a $400 prosperity payment. While it was a great gesture, and certainly created a boom in the retail world, it may not have been the best use of those Oil revenue dollars.
Simon Barrett 

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