Happy New Year, and Take Heart!

Since the AUC handed down their decision, I’ve talked to some residents in the affected areas who feel disheartened. Despite all the hard work we have put into defeating this misguided transmission project, the government and the AUC have not been at all responsive. It is perhaps a natural response to feel like giving up. But, now is not the time to give up. Time is running out, but the fight is far from over. The first 3 months of this year will be decisive in this fight, and we will need your help more than ever.

As we look back on the year that was, and think about the year ahead, there are 3 important things we need to recognize.

1. The legal route is important, but it is not enough!

We’ve worked very hard to stop the AUC from allowing the government’s planned overhead power line overbuild to go ahead. Our lawyers, witnesses, experts, board members and volunteers have worked countless hours, and we will continue to work on appeals. These appeals may succeed in delaying the construction of these lines, and may even succeed in bringing changes to the current application. However, until the government re-introduces an independent needs-assessment process for power lines and until clear direction comes from the government about the importance of protecting homes, schools, and daycare centers from EMFs, we will continue to have the Heartland Transmission Project hanging over our heads.

2. The Alberta PCs are not our friends!

Last year, we worked very hard to engage PC MLAs and members of the government. This was the right thing to do – we gave the government the benefit of the doubt and tried to work within the governing party to address this issue. However, Alison Redford has continued with the misguided Stelmach policy of pushing through the Heartland Transmission Project and local PC MLAs, while pretending to object in public, have failed to act to stop the project from going ahead. Often times, we’ve found that PC politicians say one thing in public, while working behind the scenes to push overhead power lines ahead as quickly as possible. The strategy of working within government has completely run its course – now it’s time to work to defeat the government.

3. Alberta is still a democracy, and we still have the power!

There is no place for pessimism in democratic politics, because we always have the power to bring about change. In the year ahead, we need to exercise our power. We need to use our resources, our time, our social networks, and our votes to defeat PC politicians and replace them with people who will repeal Bill 50 (the enabling legislation which allows the government to build the Heartland Transmission Project) and with people who will support putting power lines underground in those cases where they are needed. We need to encourage our friends and neighbours to stop voting based on their habits, and to start voting based on their values and their interests.

The election is still a few months away. Now is the time to start reading about party policies and contacting local candidates. Democracy means that you have the power. Soon you will have an opportunity to exercise that power.

~ by RETA on January 1, 2012.

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