Thursday, October 04, 2007

Report Shows Calgary's Quality of Life is "Brutal"

I found this Editorial in the Calgary Herald today to be very informative and telling. A recent report card has been issued on the quality of life in Calgary and the results are termed “brutal.”

Noting the report card gave “barely” passing marks in most categories but 10 C’s and D’s in key community indicators like health, arts and culture, the gap between rich and poor, the environment and housing, which received a “D-.” Ouch.

The best score in the community based self assessment of life in Calgary was a B- in opportunities for learning and work. Speaking of work, Calgarians log more work hours in multiple jobs just to make ends meet than anywhere else in Canada except for the 46,000 people in the NWT. That is not much of a quality of life enhancement.

The editorial questions the science of the survey since it was only 600 who participated and in an on-line process. The kicker here really is that the survey was targeted at community leaders. That is powerful stuff. The community leaders are often the influentials and opinion makers and trend setters in any group, including citizens. What they say means something. They counts, have clout and cause changes.

To not have the usual Stats Can breakdown of demographic alignment is not a fault in such research because it is about informing public policy design for policy makers. Politicians are influenced mostly by community leaders because that is who they mostly talk to. What opinions are held by influentials is critical to impacting political and policy changes.

The Influentials are the ones who show up and get things done in a community. I would rather know what influentials are thinking, saying and doing than any so-called scientific survey. Especially if I am trying to determine what the opinion makers feel is important about a community’s quality of life and what needs attention.

Based on this brutal assessment of the quality of life in Calgary by key Calgarians, perhaps the Big Oil Beltliners will want to reassess their lobbying strategy currently aimed at intimidating Albertans and bullying the province all determined to keep the economic pot boiling and the economy overheated. They seem to think this should be done at any cost so long as the costs can be passed on to consumers and citizens.

They are happily aligned with the Libertarian movement that says keeping royalties low is keeping money away from government and that is a worthy goal in itself. It is however not providing the necessary funds for government help to solve the obvious challenges to living a quality life in Calgary today nor is it securing a positive future for the next generations of Calgarians either.