I've worked the frontlines of Edmonton Transit for the last 14 years. I've worked as a bus driver, LRT driver, dispatcher, LRT inspector, and Superintendent. I've seen a lot of things in my time with the city while working transit and I can honestly tell you this last year and a half has been the hardest year and a half of my career. I think I speak for many on the frontlines of transit and first responders still working in the field who could say the same thing. While city administration and city council safely stayed home (and rightfully so) our frontline in transit kept the system running with minimal support from above and a lack of acknowledgement or understanding of what we were all going through. Our frontline in transit, in first response, in healthcare, in grocery stores, in education, and so on gave everything they had this year to keep our system going sometimes working double, triple, quadruple shifts, putting the health and safety of their families at risk, and putting their own mental health in jeopardy and sometimes falling just to ensure that the system kept running.
Who kept our system running this year while so many were fortunate enough to shelter in place? Our frontline. And while our frontline continues to struggle through this while we transition to an end to this pandemic our frontline faces this new hurdle, this new barrier, this new obstacle showing that our leadership lacks the understanding of the sacrifice that our people have made to keep us safe and our city moving. Over city 100 workers with families, with careers, with dependents that have given everything this year now face an uncertain future. Where's our commitment to the people that have committed to us? Why, even if this is not successful, are we entertaining this? Do we understand what that does to morale? To our people's feelings of security, of well-being, of value? This slow chipping away of our public service to privatization with transit, with rec centres, and so on is killing our accountability. It's killing our ability to control costs. And most importantly it's killing our commitment to our people.
This is wrong. When I am elected City Councillor to Edmonton City Council for Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi this fall I will fight against this with every bone in my body.
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