A good paint and bad engine is an easier sell than a good engine and bad paint.

It is easier to sell a vehicle with a good paint job and a bad drive train than it is to sell a vehicle with a good drive train and a bad paint job. Buyers will over look the blue tinged exhaust but worry about the dime sized rust spot by the rear wheel. Not everyone but I would say the majority.
Sales people and politicians know this. Voters will vote for the fancy platform over the more substantive policy based platform. Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell is known for declaring elections are not the time to discuss policy. Between elections our politicians, generally, are invisible and voters are busy with their lives, so between elections policy is not discussed.
This October 16, we will be having our municipal elections, we will hear much about our downtown, the Riverlands, our trail systems like all the past elections, and we will hear much about the 2019 Winter Games.
The Winter Games is the paint job while our decreasing population is our engine. We will spend $2,000 for every visitor that will visit this city over those 2 weeks, but last year we lost 975 permanent residents. Which is the bigger issue? The city is not doing a census this year, so we will not know if the losses will continue. How much discussion will there be on reversing this trend, or will it all be blamed on the economy?
The five fastest growing cities in Canada are Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Lethbridge. They are all in western provinces, affected by the same economy, and Lethbridge is almost the same size as Red Deer. So why did they all grow while Red Deer shrank?
Blackfalds, Penhold, Sylvan Lake all grew while Red Deer shrank, but we are not discussing it, because it is the economy.
Let us delve further into Red Deer’s shrinkage. One third of the residents live north of the river and they lost 777 residents while two thirds of the residents live south of the river and they only lost 198 residents. So the north side is shrinking 8 times faster than the south side of the river. You cannot blame this on the provincial economy.
It might have more to do with the city planning for everything being on the south side. No high schools on the north side and 6 for the south side. 1 recreational complex on the north side, (Dawe Centre) and 10 on the south side ( the Downtown Recreation Centre, Michener Aquatic Centre, Downtown Arena, Centrium complex, Collicutt Recreation Centre, Pidherney Curling Centre, Kinex Arena, Kinsmen Community Arenas, Red Deer Curling Centre, and the under-construction Gary W. Harris Centre. The city is also talking about replacing the downtown recreation centre with an expanded 50m pool).
There will be few words or thoughts given to our bad engine and many offered about the winter games paint job.
Reminds me of the Rio Olympic Games, it emphasized the class differences, burden placed on the populace for the benefit of the few, and I did not hear of any mass migrations to Rio after the games. I did hear about the long term debt carried by the forgotten masses. I have no belief that our 2019 Winter Games will be the panacea for our declining population and economy in Red Deer.
Will we discuss the exiting from our downtown, businesses relocating to the county’s Gasoline Alley? No, probably not. because that is too negative while the trails have more positive spins and recognition. Though not because of the actions of our politicians now but from the actions of politicians long forgotten.
I think I see in my mind’s eye a lot of politicians taking note of the paint jobs but I do not see many lifting the hood. I really hope that I will be proven wrong, but if history is anything to go by, I won’t be. Fingers crossed.

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