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November 15, 2019
Dear Mayor Nenshi and City of Calgary Councilors,
#KeepCalgaryStrong is a growing coalition of organizations and Calgarians that support the principle set out by City Council: cuts in the operating budget should do the least harm to Calgary’s most vulnerable and poor. We believe that if budget cuts are necessary, they should not compromise access to jobs, safety, education, health care and the social participation of those most dependent on City services. We respect the financial challenges confronting City Council and understand that recent decisions by the Province have done the city no favors. We find the principle of “doing least harm” is most critical in guiding decisions and establishing priorities. Any cuts in supports and services for those who are already vulnerable will only increase stress and trauma. Demands on community resources and support networks will only go up, not down. Losing needed City services for the less fortunate will weaken, not strengthen, our community.
Specifically, we ask that city council
- Maintain current transit services and fare structure (Concerning 330,000 Calgarians) Specifically, we ask that you preserve the low-income sliding scale pass at the current rates. The 66 000 people living on less than $13 000 a year who have benefited from the Band A pass are telling us that the 250% increase in cost is not something they can afford. We also ask that no further decreases in service hours be made as transit is a life-line for so many Calgarians to get to work, school and services.
- Reconsider the proposed cuts to affordable housing, community social workers, and other social services like libraries. These services make our city resilient and livable and are a life-line for the whole community, not just the 122 000 Calgarians living on low-incomes.
It is said that one can judge the vibrancy and strength of a community by how it supports its most vulnerable members; how effectively it brings them into greater participation with civic life. We support your stated commitment to build a strong and resilient city by doing the least harm to our most vulnerable citizens. We believe these requests will help you keep our city strong and vibrant. We look forward to addressing council on November 25th. We welcome the opportunity to work together toward our shared goals.
#KeepCalgaryStrong was initiated by the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good. It is a collaborative of organizations and individuals who share resources, knowledge and the commitment to work together to ensure Calgary’s vulnerable citizens are protected from the consequences of City cuts.