Hate the stress of hockey? Give lacrosse a try

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog

Reginald Tiangha – Last night, a friend treated me to a Calgary Roughnecks game.

This was the second lacrosse game I had ever attended. My first was on Fan Appreciation Night when the Roughnecks organization essentially gave away a free tickets in order to show their gratitude to existing Roughnecks fans, and to attract new fans. Judging by the sheer number who indicated that it was indeed their first game, it was a great success.

For last night’s game against the Edmonton Rush, there was an interesting battle going on behind the scenes.

Edmonton Rush owner, Bruce Urban, was offering to give free tickets to any Edmonton Rush fan who would make the trip to Calgary. He went so far as to call Calgary Roughnecks owner Brad Banister to give him a heads up that he would be bulk-buying a bunch of tickets, hoping that 4,000 would make the trip down and invade the Saddledome, wear black (the Rush’s team colours), and be loud and proud.

Banister, while willing to take money from anyone, felt confident that Calgarians would step up to the plate and drown out the smear of black.

The challenge was issued, and accepted.

All in all, there were about 13,000 fans in attendance, with about 800 of them being Rush fans. It was a fun evening, with, and I hate to admit it, 800 fans drowning out the other 12,000 at times.

However, the tables quickly turned as the Roughnecks dominated the Rush, decisively winning the game by a score of 18-7. By the end of the game, the fans were on their feet cheering their beloved Roughnecks to victory.

I’ve got to hand it to Roughnecks fans: they are very passionate about their team. In fact, lacrosse fans are some of the most passionate fans of any sport that I’ve ever met.

Still, I’m a guy that likes to follow the home team’s standings. I like to know how they’re doing in relation to the others and what our chances are to make the finals. As I don’t regularly follow the NLL, I decided to ask some fans around me about how we’re doing.

Keep in mind that I was lucky to be put in a section surrounded by passionate fans. Decked out in jerseys and t-shirts, they attend home games any time they can, usually bringing their children or anyone else who wants to come.

So I was very surprised when not a single person could tell me how we were doing.

They all had the same response: They love the game, they love watching it, they come at every opportunity, but they don’t follow the standings and couldn’t even say if we were in a position to make the playoffs.

Which brings me to the thing I love most about Roughnecks fans: They don’t care about scores. They don’t stress about standings and math. To them, it’s just a game that can be enjoyed and a team to be cheered.

There are some valuable lessons that can be learned from fans of lacrosse. So often, we fans tend to stress over every single game, whether we win or lose, whether or not we’ll make the playoffs. When we lose, we tend to lynch anyone and everyone remotely related to the cause. We’ll shine the spotlight on the players, coaches, managers, even the media. Sometimes we get so caught up in the fervor that we start to lose perspective.

Because at the end of the day, it’s just a game.

And lacrosse fans understand that.

It’s a different approach; for instance, the audience participation. When the opposition takes a shot that’s stopped by the goalie, the interplay goes something like this: Announcer – “What does he have?” Audience – “NOTHING!” I especially like how the announcer disrespects the opposition at every opportunity.

I like the fact that the players aren’t paid very much, and they just play because they love the sport. In fact, they make themselves available on the field after the game for autographs. Anyone can go down after the game and chat it up with the players. Affordable tickets are very appealing as well.

It’s a rough game. People getting whacked in the head with sticks, lots of pushing and shoving; even the odd fight or three.

Oh, and the cheerleaders. The hot, HOT cheerleaders.

The next (and final) Roughnecks home game of the season is Saturday April 19 against the Toronto Rock. If you have never been, go.

The prices are very reasonable (the section I was in would normally cost you $100 for a Flames game, but only cost about $24 for lacrosse and the organization regularly has promotions and sales so you can easily get a ticket for less than $20), and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Flames Time! It’s beginning to feel a lot like…

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog

Reginald Tiangha

Sitting at my desk, counting down the hours until 8 p.m., waiting like a kid at Christmas for the playoffs to start, I can’t help but reflect on what a topsy-turvy season it’s been for the Calgary Flames.

If the 05/06 season epitomized “heart-attack” hockey, and the 06/07 season epitomized “identity crisis,” I’d have to say that this season was definitely the year of the “roller coaster.”

Indeed, the highs have been high, and the lows have been low. You couldn’t figure out what team you’d see any given night. The wins have been spectacular, and the losses have been apocalyptic. Last year, everyone was calling for former head-coach Jim Playfair’s head. Now, with a new coach and, at times, play resembling the same kind of laziness we saw last year, every player on that team has had the harsh heat of the spotlight shown on them at various points in the season by fans and media alike.

Yet, if you look at where we ended, things don’t look so bad.

In a weird week which saw Flames fans thanking the Oilers for defeating the Canucks allowing us to make the playoffs, and ending with Canucks fans wishing us luck due to the classy actions of the Flames led by Iginla against Vancouver where it was, quite possibly, Trevor Linden’s last game in a Canucks uniform (during one of the most touchy-feely, lovey-dovey games I’ve ever seen; seriously, it made me feel kind of funny watching it), the Flames managed to finish the season with a positive goal differential (in other words, scored more goals than scored against; shocker, I know), above .500, and saw Iginla score 50 goals for the second time in his career.

The most amusing stat? Finishing the season with the same record as we did in 03/04.

In any case, it remains to be seen what team shows up tonight. Will they be the dominant team we’ve seen at times throughout the season, scoring goals, blocking shots, playing the body, and hitting everything in sight? Will they be guilty of standing around, watching the puck, and playing poor team defense due to the forwards not helping out the defense corps? Will the much anticipated “Hale Storm” finally strike with his first goal of the season (well, technically, I guess it’s too late for that, sorry David)? It’s hard to say what we’re going to get.

Kind of like Christmas, actually.

I, for one, look forward to the surprise.

I refuse to gloat

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog
Reginald Tiangha – Despite the Calgary Flames losing to the Minnesota Wild 3-1 last night, with the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, our hated rivals to the north dealt the final deathblow to the playoff hopes of our equally hated rivals to the west, just as Calgary did to Edmonton on Tuesday. Furthermore, it had the added side effect allowing us to clinch a playoff position as well.

I think everyone can see some humour in what happened last night (i.e., Oilers: “If we can’t make it to the playoffs, then neither can you! Take that!”), and, as I was reading various fan message forums and listening to the late night radio talk shows after the games, Flames fans aplenty are and are taking the opportunity to rub it in the faces of any and all those who support them (as is their right).

But not me.

Let’s face it: with the way the Flames played last night, it’s hard to see why they deserve a playoff spot in the first place. While some will argue that attaining enough points earlier in the season shows that the Flames are indeed worthy of a playoff spot (after all, points are how playoff positions are determined in the first place), those who have followed the Flames all season know that with the division being as tight as it has been, the Flames could have easily lost a playoff spot through their play during the last month (losing 7 of the last 12 and failing to win 3 of the last 4 previous games, which would have helped them attain a playoff spot sooner and/or the division championship if they had won just one or more of those games) and indeed, their current level of play over the last four games is indicative of the spurts of craptastic play we’ve been forced to bear with all season (let us not speak of November).

To put it another way, this season, the Flames have acted like that girl in high school who you had a secret crush on, but could never really admit your true feelings to. You liked watching her a lot, and you thought she might have liked you too by her behavior (teasing you with confident and domineering looks), but as soon as you get your hopes up, she walks right up to you and slaps you in the face, or worse, utterly disappoints you by something she does or fails to do.

Watching the Flames play against the Wild last night was like another slap to the face. Despite your best intentions, you start to think to yourself, “if only the boyfriend wasn’t around.” Because, the harsh reality is that your only guaranteed chance to take her to the prom is if something happened to the guy.

Well, with the prom rapidly approaching, watching the game between the Oilers and the Canucks was like watching the girl’s jock boyfriend getting hit by a truck driven by his insanely jealous ex-girlfriend (who, incidentally, acted like a jerk towards you too and never gave you the time of day either), driving at such a high rate of speed that it’s obvious that she intends that they both go down in fiery, mutual destruction (re: if I can’t have him, then NO ONE can!). As you’re watching the inevitable collision, deep down inside, you’re hoping something bad happens to the boyfriend. Yet, if something bad were to also happen to his ex, well, meh. She did nothing to deserve your pity either.

In any event, what’s past is past. The Flames can forget about all those games that they should have won but ended up losing, their inconsistent play, the vicious trade rumours, and attaining all those great starts that the coaches were preaching about and the players desired, only to blow it with a lousy finish.

It’s a whole new hockey game now. And, unlike last season, the Flames have more to give; we’ve seen spurts of it all season. After all, it was an exceptional December and January that got us back into the race. All they need to do now is focus and remember what it is that has made them successful so far, and then, repeat it.

Now the countdown to the prom has begun, the girl is single again, and it remains to be seen if the Flames will put out or not.

For me, I’m just thankful that we’re going to the dance in the first place. Feeling relief more than anything, really. And I think there are a lot more people out there who secretly feel the same way. So instead of gloating, I’m quietly thanking the hockey gods and looking forward to the fresh start. And hopefully, that start begins with annihilating the Canucks on Saturday and then building on from there.

When to boo the Flames

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog

Reginald Tiangha – Okay, so the Flames have been playing pretty inconsistent lately. I get that. Believe me, I get it.

It seems like every time they have a great defensive effort, either the goaltending or the offensive effort is lacking. Every time they have a great offensive effort, the goaltending and the defensive effort is lacking. Every time that Kipper stands on his head (which, admittedly hasn’t been too often this season), it seems that the defensive and/or offensive efforts have been lacking.

The boys can’t catch a break. A cross-bar here, a bad bounce there, all of a sudden, they’re losing games where they’ve dominated. Gain a 4-0 lead by the second period? Lose. Hold the other team to 14 shots against? Still lose. Score the first goal in the game? Yup, more often than not, lose.

I understand.

With the boo-birds out in full force at the Saddledome and fans calling to fire Keenan, fire Sutter, trade Tanguay (or Yelle or Nilson or Huselius or pretty much everyone) and even bench Kiprusoff, there’s a lot of negativity going around in Flames Country. This obviously feeds off the already existing negativity leading to a spiral of panic, hate, fear, and frustration for the fans, players and coaching staff.

Which is exactly why it is time that we, as fans, do our part to break that cycle.

So, if you’re lucky enough to go to the game tonight against St. Louis and/or on Dec. 6 against Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, try to resist the urge to “boo” and instead, try the following:

– When you see a player block a shot, cheer.
– When you see a good puck cycle in the offensive zone, cheer (especially since you probably haven’t seen much of that this season).
– When you see a player lay a big hit, cheer.
– When you see a good offensive break out, cheer.
– When you see Kipper make a great save, cheer.
– When a line has a good shift, cheer them as they change lines.
– When you see anything that the Flames do to impress you, cheer.

And finally:

– If you are going to boo the team (hey, it’s your money and your ticket), just do me a favor and make sure you cheer extra loudly the next time they do one of the above.

The bottom line is that the boys in red desperately need some positive reinforcement right about now. They’ve lost one too many games that they’ve dominated to the point that they should have easily won, and it’s shot their confidence to heck.

It has been said that the fans are like the 7th man on the ice; now, as fans, it’s time to prove it by supporting the home team.

One Laptop per Child initiative worthy of Christmas-time support

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q. Blog

Reginald Tiangha

Something I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while now is the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project, a project originally spearheaded by one Nicholas Negroponte from MIT. Its intent is exactly that: ensure that every child in the developing world has access to their own computer that can be used to provide them access to knowledge and to help further their education.

To achieve this, many companies including AMD, Google, Nortel Networks, and Red Hat have collaborated to create a very cheap, very basic yet fully featured notebook computer that is rugged and can be charged through a variety of means like hand-cranks and the standard wall outlet. To cut down further on costs, the machines will be running a customized version of the Linux operating system, which is suitable to be run on low tech hardware.

You may have heard talk about a “$100 laptop” a few years ago aimed towards furthering education in the developing world; this project has its roots in that.

Unfortunately, the project has hit a few snags along the way. Because of manufacturing costs, they eventually had to raise the price to $199, although there is hope that if demand and production increases, the price can be lowered. Also, Intel has decided to create its own notebook computer aimed at the same market: the Classmate PC. Some are concerned that the machines will be put towards uses other than education, and of course, people are always asking if the money spent on this project could be better spent elsewhere, like on providing food and shelter.

Still, despite the long standing criticisms and logistical concerns, it would seem that it is slowly making inroads. Uruguay was the first significant deployment with 100,000 machines. Most recently, Peru has put in an order for 260,000 while Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has purchased 50,000 for use in his own country.

I personally think that this is a wonderful idea, and can’t quite understand why there seems to be so much resistance to this particular project in the corporate world. Yes, there are probably more immediate needs that could be solved with the money being spent on this project; just watching TV on Sunday morning constantly reminds me that there are hungry children in the world.

But the objective of this project has always been a long term one. The hope being that in a world and culture where books are hard to find or expensive to obtain, by providing children the means to access the wealth of information that is available out there for free, that the children will be given more opportunities than to those before them to further their education, and hopefully be able to lead better lives than those who came before them.

If you’d like to show your support to this project, the OLPC Foundation is currently holding a “Give One. Get One.” promotion where those in the Canada and U.S. can purchase one of these machines for $399 for themselves, and have a second machine donated to a child participating in the project. Corporations (or very rich individuals, I guess) can donate 100 machines or more and can be able to choose where in the world they will be deployed. To date, they have already received orders for 190,000 additional machines through these programs.

If an impoverished surfer dude can come up with a possible theory about everything, who knows what wealth of ideas can come from the children in the developing world if just given a chance and the means, which is why I love everything this project stands for.

Sea of…Pink?

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog

Reginald Tiangha
 – Next week is the Calgary Stampede’s 30 Hours of Tough campaign to help promote Breast Cancer awareness. As a Flames fan, I really like the idea of mass color coordination in large crowds, so I’m looking forward to seeing a fully pink themed parade, rodeo and Grandstand show (complete with pink fireworks!) on Friday. In fact, I’ve already bought myself a pink cowboy shirt (with the proceeds going towards the fundraising campaign) and fully plan on attending Sneek-a-Peek on Thursday where 100% of the $3 gate admission goes to the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

However, fellow Q Blogger Megan Pratt brought up a good point a while ago. It really isn’t fair that whenever there is a big push for cancer awareness, it seems that breast cancer gets the most exposure and others, not so much.

Like Megan, cancer has touched my life as well. Just like in her case, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, although my mom’s cancer is cancer of the cervix. However, this isn’t like the cervical cancer that is commonly linked to STDs (I don’t even want to think about how that would have happened to my mom. Nope. Don’t want to picture that.).

No, hers is a rare type of cancer that only 1% of all cervical cancer patients have. The really boggling part of it is that my mom is/was a 100% healthy person. She doesn’t smoke, she doesn’t drink, and, before the diagnosis, she got lots of exercise. Because of this, I’ve heard that she’s become a little bit famous in some circles at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre because she’s such a special case.

In any event, I want to do my part to bring awareness to the fact that there are other types of cancer out there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully intend to support the Calgary Stampede’s initiative by buying the pink merchandise and wearing some form of pink for the 30 hours because I think it is a really innovative way to support a really good cause. In fact, I hope that it is very, very successful.

However, I’m also going to do something a little different.

For those thirty hours, I’ll also be wearing a yellow ribbon on my left arm. Yellow is the color of the main symbol of the Canadian Cancer Society, which is the daffodil. By doing so, I hope that I can make others aware that there are other types of cancers out there that need our attention. At the very least, I hope that I’ll be able to at least solicit a few questions on the street about why I’ve got something tied around my arm while my fellow pink brethren do not.

Sometimes, awareness starts with asking just a simple question.

Of course, a yellow ribbon also has other meanings, and I guess it could also symbolize my support for our troops who are serving abroad. But for me, personally, it’ll be mainly worn in honor for my mom.

Anyways, I hope that the citizens of Calgary will embrace what the Calgary Stampede is trying to do to raise breast cancer awareness. I think it’s a worthy cause and I look forward to seeing a city that is traditionally decked out in red to be decked out in pink for a day and a half. I just hope that people also remember that there are other cancer causes out there that could use their support as well.

Calgary Herald Q

Preventable adventures in bureaucracy (in a city with a labour shortage)

Now first off, this isn’t one of my pieces. This one was written by fellow Q Blogger Bryan Douey and after reading it, I felt that I had to share it with others. You can’t help but feel sorry for the guy and the thing is, anyone living in Calgary who has to deal with the current labour shortage can probably relate (I know I can as we’re currently feeling the crunch at the current company I work for).

Anyways, why not take a quick look? It’s a fun read.

Transit problem? Check. What’s next?

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q. Blog

Reginald Tiangha

Now that the transit problem is settled, let’s move onto the next problem

After reading Alex Bonyun’s piece about how the city needs to put more emphasis on bikers in Calgary, I couldn’t help but agree. In my case, I currently bike to work. Ironically, it was the threat of an impending transit strike that persuaded me to actually purchase a bicycle three weeks ago and try something that I hadn’t done for at least 15 years. With that in mind, you can pretty much consider me a beginning biker.

My commute takes about 40-60 mins and takes me from the NE, through the Barlow/Max Bell area, onto the Bow River Pathway, through the Zoo and into the downtown core.

My main problem, and, in my opinion as person who wants to give the “bike-to-work” movement a try, is that it is a dangerous trip.

Now, how can biking on inner city pathways be dangerous? Well, simply because many of the regional paths seem to be neglected in terms of maintenance.

That, or I’m nothing but a newb biker with no skill at all.

In any case, let me take you through a picture tour of some of the hazards of my commute and let you decide which one it is.

This is a shot looking up from a particularly steep hill that goes down the canal pathways near Max Bell:

picture_1tb

Notice the bumps, fissures and cracks all along the hill. It’s hard to get a sense of depth perception from the picture, but there are only two ways to survive going down this thing: a) either you bike straight down the middle while enduring all the bumps or b) ride to the sides bypassing the path directly as the hill is more even than the path.

Of course, if you choose option b, you’ll have to endure hazards like these:

picture_2tb

Honestly, I’ve seen roads maintained better than this. If the city is serious about encouraging citizens to adopt alternate forms of transportation, then they really need to do something about this to make cycling a more palatable and (more importantly) safe option. Putting up signs like these:

picture_3tb

should not be enough.

Inconvenience, huh? Yeah, me wiping out near the bottom and almost killing myself is indeed an inconvenience, but I suppose I can accept your apology as, you know, I’m, like, still alive to write this and all.

Seriously though, despite this being one of many hazards on my particular commute, I’m sure the same thing exists in other various paths around the city. As the economy gets hotter and the standard of living gets higher, people will be trying to find ways to do things that are cost-effective. Using a bike as a form of transportation fits the bill (not to mention that it’s healthy for you, better for the environment, etc, etc), but no one will (or should) adopt it if it isn’t safe. I know that there are other infrastructure problems that need to be dealt with, but it would be nice if the city could put a little bit towards the pathways as well and make it a truly viable alternative for inner-city transportation needs.

Microsoft’s “free” seminar just a sales pitch

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q. Blog

Reginald Tiangha

On Tuesday, I attended Microsoft’s Future of the Server Room Tour ’07 TechNet presentation at the Paramount Chinook. It was a free, all day session with breakfast and (even more impressively) lunch provided courtesy of the company that Bill Gates helped to create.

Based on their description of the event, I was secretly hoping for a relevant, possibly academic discussion on the issues that System and Network Administrators will have to deal with in the future and possible solutions to some of the problems that lurk on the horizon. Based on the titles of their agenda, they were set to cover server infrastructure, virtual infrastructure management, physical infrastructure management and network security. It sounded like very relevant stuff to an IT Pro like me.

Unfortunately, once you dig deeper into the descriptions and actually attend the presentations, it was about 5% discussion of issues and 95% product showcase. Forget about LinuxVMWareNagios or Nessus, all of which are free and available for download which can do essentially the same things. Even forget about strategies and best practices that you can employ to nip these issues in the bud. The message at the end of the day was that you should trust Microsoft with your network maintenance and security and use only their products because as the tech demos showed, they’re pretty good tools and get the job done. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I know that many in the audience were very receptive to what they had to say by the end of the presentation. In fact, I’m interested myself in adapting some of the technologies and ideas that were showcased that day into our network infrastructure at work…

…using similar tools in Linux.

Honestly, why would I want to shell out big bucks for software that can be had available for free? I guess if we were running a larger Windows network, it might be worth the price for convenience as they’re pretty good tools, but I’m fairly certain there are some third party tools out there that could possibly do the same things for less. Or maybe not. Don’t have much knowledge about the Windows world (which is part of the reason why I attended the free event in the first place.) as I currently work at a small company that runs Linux based computers on the majority of their desktops in order to keep costs down.

In any case, one word of advice: the next time that Microsoft (or anyone else that gives out presentations for free) comes to town with another event, you should remember to not only keep an open mind, but to always think critically as well lest you start to think that the one answer that people give you is the only answer that is available.

Re: End the transit strike before it begins

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog

Reginald Tiangha, Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reginald Tiangha – April 22, 2007 15:09 – I question how serious city council is on trying to curb a transit strike before it happens. You would think that they would have learned from what happened last time and tried their hardest to prevent things from getting to this point.

There were no winners when the members of ATU 583 went on strike in 2001. For seven weeks (the longest strike of its kind in Calgary’s history), Calgarians had to find alternate ways to get around. Where possible, people biked, rollerbladed or walked to get around. For the majority of people, traffic became a nightmare and the number of cars on the roads increased dramatically. Getting a taxi anywhere around town was impossible and, while lucrative for the taxi industry in Calgary, there were still complaints by some taxi companies that they were ill-equipped to deal with the demand and advocated a quick end to the strike for their own sanity.

As a post-secondary student at the time, I remember hearing about students being unable to make it to classes, being stranded at school and even missing exams. It was horrid.

Fast forward to 2007. According to Calgary Transit’s 2006 20 Year Capital Plan, public transit usage in Calgary has increased to the point that they are consistently at near-capacity during peak hours and estimate that more people are deterred from using public transit because of this.

Forty-two per cent of work travel to the downtown core is now done through public transit (compared to 36 per cent in 1995). Between 1995 and 2004, ridership increased by 46 per cent, approximately double Calgary’s population growth rate of 24 per cent.

The federal government wants to encourage public transit adoption by offering tax credits. Many new housing developments have popped up near C-Train stations which will probably entice those home owners to adopt transit for their transportation needs. With housing costs what they are today, many people are forgoing cars in order to pay for housing, and are becoming reliant on Calgary Transit for their transportation needs.

Add to the fact that many post-secondary students now use transit due to U-Pass transit fees being a mandatory tuition fee, it is painfully obvious that the demand for public transit in Calgary has increased over the years, will continue to increase, and is stronger than ever before.

Calgary Transit has an ambitious plan to expand transit infrastructure in Calgary to meet the demand. Those plans include expansions to the NW and NE C-Train lines and construction of a West line that would take the place of the current BRT line in the West and continue on all the way to Aspen Woods. In order to meet these targets, they plan on adding more train cars and busses to their fleets and hiring over 200 drivers and additional technical staff to maintain it all, which is probably why the current public transit staff feel so overworked.

With the importance of public transit and the long term plans being considered to increase service, it boggles my mind that city council continues to allow situations like these to degenerate to the point where they are now. I mean, seriously, what have they been doing all this time? I’m disappointed with the fact that it seems like the city has been dragging their heels on getting this situation resolved for so long now, especially with public transit being so important to so many people.

Furthermore, I’m not impressed that the transit union is asking for a wage hike that is higher than what many of the other city unions accepted this year (on average, a 10 per cent increase, which is the same deal that the city initially offered the transit union).

I’m not saying that transit workers don’t deserve more money. Part of the problem is that they feel overworked and thus they feel that they deserve more pay and justifiably so. No one likes working 12 hour days. However, if the city had accomplished their goal of hiring the extra 200 workers they had originally been looking for, then perhaps transit staff wouldn’t feel as overworked as they are now and may have possibly settled for less than the 15 per cent increase they desire.

Regardless, now that they have it stuck in their heads that they deserve an increase in pay higher than what most of the other unions in the city got (ex. Fire, EMS and Police), they’re not going to settle for anything less and are going to do whatever it takes in order to get it, citizens be damned.

How much more damage will it take before the city realizes that a full blown, long term transit strike can and will have a disastrous effect on this city’s economy? For many more people in Calgary, transit is now a service essential to their livelihood and a part of their daily lives.

Therefore, I believe that it’s time for city council to seriously consider declaring public transit an essential service. Considering Calgary’s population growth and that the number of people who depend on public transit solely for their transportation needs due to economic situations, encouragement by government, and environmental concerns will increase over time, public transit will eventually become a service that’s essential for many Calgarians, if it isn’t already.

I think that it’s simply gotten to the point where the city and its citizens cannot afford to cope with a full blown transit strike anymore. If city negotiators are incapable of figuring out a way to resolve or prevent these problems from occurring in the first place, then city council should take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.