March 20, 2023

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We all had enough. It’s time to call things a shovel.

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Today, unsurprisingly, Calgary City Hall exists in a universe of its own creation.

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When hard facts stare them in the face, they weigh themselves down in their cozy cocoon, babbling pleasant-sounding buzzwords filled with empty syllables of politically correct nonsense, as if it had anything to do with the real world.

This city has problems. There is a criminal problem. There is a problem of social disorder.

There are people who are afraid to walk on certain streets, especially at night.

There are people who are afraid to ride the very train that City Hall politicians say is the most virtuous way to travel with love for Mother Earth.

Residents of municipal seats in the center enjoy all kinds of security. They are convinced of this. The rest of us peasants can probably hold their own.

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When the city hall, led by Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who gives the impression that she does not care about our police officers, goes with an outstretched hand to the province, does she ask for more police?

No, Gondek wants Alberta’s taxpayers to shell out $100 million so wealthy office tower owners can convert their downtown buildings into residences with our money, as if more apartments in the still sleazy downtown would work some magic.

You might think that the mayor and council would ask the province for more frontline police officers.

Not wallets in uniform. Dollars for backing the thin blue line.

When the provincial government sent 12 sheriffs to Calgary for three months to work alongside the city’s cops, did city hall politicians take the opportunity to stress that it wasn’t enough?

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They didn’t say, “Twelve sheriffs. Three months. We need massive help. We need special dollars for boots on the ground, and a lot.”

The fact that the province sent a dozen sheriffs to Calgary made the mayor’s office think, maybe, just maybe, those who should be in charge in this city weren’t doing the number one job?

Protecting us.

That was 14 years ago and this city had all sorts of social unrest and a lot of bad actors.

There were drug addicts on the street and rough rides in transport.

There was fear.

But at the time, the police had the resources to try and hit the hotspots of viciousness. The mayor and the then chief of police spoke freely and often about the return of the streets.

They did not apologize for what they had to do, and did not try to embellish the situation.

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There was optimism in the air. It feels like they are trying something.

Now despair. Terrible headlines do not become less. They become more frequent, almost stunning in their regularity.

The morale of the police has never been lower, and this is also not surprising.

Yes, the police should be held accountable.

But they should be allowed to do their job.

Police officer and social worker are not different names for the same job.

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Yes, the police can and do offer a helping hand and point people to the truth.

But we have the police to protect us, to be the ones willing to risk their lives for us, to stand between the law-abiding and the delinquent.

It’s hard and often thankless work, but there are those who still agree to put on the uniform and go out to places we don’t want to go and confront people we don’t want to meet.

On Thursday, two Edmonton police officers responded to a call and were killed in the line of duty.

Let it sink in for a moment of silence.

We don’t have to be cheerleaders for the police, but we do have to support them.

It doesn’t have to be said, but it has to be said.

City Hall politicians should support the cops by giving them what they need to do their jobs and letting them know that, as our elected representatives, they support gay people.

Any talk of stopping police funding should be seen as a threat to the welfare of this community.

City police chiefs also need to make sure they don’t have to trade in the political color of the day to curry favor with City Hall.

In the city council, those who know what is right should not be afraid to lead. If they don’t want to be leaders, they should leave politics.

The words are empty. It’s time to act.

The pendulum has swung too far in the wrong direction.

It must swing back in a hell of a hurry.

rbell@postmedia.com

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