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I ask myself: ‘What the hell’ has happened to Red Deer?

I moved to Red Deer on Nov. 1, 2001, and I fell in love with a central Alberta town that (at the time) had a population of 68,000 people.

It was a beautiful place and I was very happy to get married, have a child and purchase a home here.

There was a lot of work and everyone I met was happy to be a Red Deer resident.

After 20 years, I can’t help but say to myself: “What the hell happened to this place?”

I can’t even publicly express my opinions without being labelled an immigrant racist, drug-a-phobe, schizophrenia hater or self-entitled Canadian citizen.

People are shocked there is violence in Red Deer during minority rallies and marches and they can’t understand why so many Alberta citizens are losing their patience.

Well, I can certainly understand.

We’ve had an enormous influx of population, corporations have moved in to get a piece of an ever-shrinking economic pie, Edmonton/Calgary social services are sending massive case loads to Red Deer because it’s cheaper for them to reside here on the provincial dollar.

I haven’t even gotten into the massive failure to restrict the trafficking of illegal drugs within apartment buildings throughout Red Deer that continually encourage a growing population of “homeless people.”

It’s wonderful to sit back and say, “Yeah, but this is happening all over the world.”

It’s wonderful to ignore it until someone you love becomes a victim.

Shannon O’Reilly, Red Deer

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