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Monday, October 31, 2011

Alberta's Industrial Heartland Letter to Premier Redford

To the Residents of Strathcona County and the Alberta Heartland,

You will find below a copy of the letter that I, as chair of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), have sent on behalf of the AIHA to Premier Redford and Minister Morton on October 26, 2011.

Dear Premier Redford and Minister Morton,

Re: Heartland Transmission Line Decision

The member municipalities of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association are deeply concerned with your government's decision to instruct the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to move forward with the Heartland Transmission Line project. This contradicts the logic and reasoning displayed in suspending the AUC hearings on the other two north-south transmission line projects. It is absolutely critical to reassess the need for all three projects, including the Heartland Transmission Line.

In discussion with the Government of Alberta over the past year, we demonstrated that major shifts in the economic outlook for Alberta's Industrial Heartland resulted a flawed "Needs Identification Document" for the Heartland Transmission Line. Notably, a much slower pace of industrial development in the region combined with major power users exploring co-generation options on site created a paradigm shift in electrical power transmission needs. This new reality appears to have been overlooked in the decision making process for the transmission lines.

While the Heartland Transmission Line would deliver electrical support to our region, its major purpose is providing the east-west connection to reinforce Alberta's electrical grid. The decision to suspend hearings of the other two grids of the grid system makes it illogical to continue with the Heartland Transmission Line project. Proceeding with only the Heartland portion of the system could result in incompatible design and installation with the remaining and future grid network.

We share your goals and visions of a reliable and cost effective electrical system supporting Alberta now and into the future. It is essential we take the necessary time to make the most appropriate decisions for the continued success of our province.

We request a meeting with you and your Minister of Energy, Honourable Ted Morton, to discuss this matter further. Please have your office contact us directly to arrange this meeting.


Linda Osinchuk
Chair, Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reaction to Premier's Announcement Reversal

Once again Strathcona County residents are getting the short end of  stick.

I am angry and demand answers to the following questions from Premier Redford:
·          Why did the Premier intervene and change Minister Mortons' Transmission Line message hours after it was released Friday morning? "Miscommunication" is a negligible excuse for a provincial government, especially when this was not some last minute decision on the government’s part.

·          Why is the Heartland line deemed critical? The Heartland industry did not ask for it.  Actually, it will create a huge electrical cost to them. The future of huge feedstocks of natural gas could be an alternative energy source. 

·          To where and to what are these lines connecting to if the other two are now on hold and under review?

If it is going to Fort McMurray,  then south to the US for electrical export, it will mean more revenue to the province and huge companies like Altalink and Epcor, at residents’ cost!

If this is so critical who is going to pay the cost for such a gigantic, never before seen in Alberta or Canada infrastructure? I certainly hope not only the residents of Strathcona County!

Strathcona County residents need answers now! Injustice has once again occurred! It is time the people of our County are show some respect!

As Mayor, I will continue to fight for a formal impact assessment study on the Heartland Project and I will fight to bury the lines if they do come through our schools, daycares and densely populated areas.

We deserve answers now not after the fact!

Mayor Linda Osinchuk

Friday, October 14, 2011

Women! Politics! Challenges! Opportunities!

My journey as a woman to become the Mayor of
Strathcona County in 2010 was a journey of winning
a personal battle. First, let me say I am extremely
honoured and very happy in my new role as Mayor.
Let me share my story. During my second term
as Councillor, I began to think about my future
and what I wanted to do following my sixth year
as a municipal elected official. During this time,
I became very involved in mentoring women in
leadership roles and in elected positions. The
Federation of Canadian Municipalities initiated
a program calling for a 30% increase of women
participating in municipalities by 2015. In Canada,
only 23% of the municipal leaders are women - less
percentage on provincial and federal levels. That
places our country in thirty-eighth position in the
world for having a balanced representation from the
female population. This is not a gender issue but a
democratic issue. When 52% of Canada's population
is female and the numbers at the decision -making
table are only 23%, there is an inequity.
Policies and laws are debated and then created
to represent the people who politicians are
representing. This is why I became so involved in
the political process. There are too many injustices
when too much power is used without considering
the rights of the people. As women, we need to
encourage, mentor, fight and educate others
on the importance of ethical and just processes,
while ensuring that bottom-line fiscal responsible
budgeting is done.

Strategic, Passionate, Accessible, Respectful,
integrity, hard working, business savvy and caring are
characteristics I believe are a woman's best assets as
a leader - politically or in business and community. I
decided to visually place myself in the role as mayor so
that I can lead with these characteristics. I was not sure
if I had what it took. I was with my husband Jim when
I stated to him that I wanted to be the next Mayor of
Strathcona County. He thought I lost it. I would be
going against an incumbent - a difficult and challenging
position to be in - and the incumbent was also a woman.
I told him that two women going after the position
of  Mayor speaks volumes. So with an amazing team,
God's blessings and the belief of positive messaging,
hard work and great campaign strategy, I became the
new Mayor of Strathcona County.
I am dedicated to listening to all residents' issues and
embracing their stories, positive or negative. I govern
with a strong knowledge of parliamentary law. I stand
up for issues when many would hesitate to. I truly
believe I was placed on this earth to champion the good
and the right. Does that take a lot of balls and positive
attitude? You bet! Politics is not for the faint of heart.
But it does take heart and a spirit of hope to know you
are there for the right reason.

So look inside yourself and ask yourself what
challenges are in t he way for you to make your
dream come t rue. It is the internal battle that you
have to win. The rest will come, if you say, "I will, I
can, I am!" I am a woman who will not give up until
I am truly happy with who I am and what I am to

Every day is a blessing. Live it like it is your last!
When you wake up, ask for God's blessings and
guidance. Put a smile on your face and say to
yourself, "I will do my best today, mindful of
others and with a positive attitude." If you make
a decision that hurts someone, then it was the
wrong decision. At the end of the day say thank
you for all that you experienced that day. Even if
it is a difficult day, think about what you learned
from that experience. Hug people close to you and
pass on the best gift- a smile and a hello. You can
make a difference just by your attitude and how
people respond to you.
With two more years as Mayor in this term, I plan
to continue to be accessible, transparent, caring,
and open for business; to fight for our hospital,
buried transmission lines, overpasses, represent
industry and build relationships.

I would like to have a legacy of being the 'People's
Mayor; a Mayor who is not afraid to fight hard
issues; a Mayor who helps the young and old; a
Mayor who represents industry and business; a
Mayor who cares!

Strathcona County is the energy capital of Canada!
Energy from our resources! Energy from the sky
and sun above! But most of all the energy of the
wonderful people, who work, live and play in our
great community!

My door is open! Coffee is on! God Bless!