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Philpott faces skepticism about needed school from members of Ontario reserve


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OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott faced disbelief Monday from members of a northern Ontario reserve who came to Ottawa to urge the federal government to build a new, safe school for their community.

Philpott, who stood in scorching September sun to speak to about 30 students and other supporters, said children of Kashechewan First Nation — a reserve located near James Bay — “absolutely” have the right to a high-quality education.

“What I want to say to you kids today is that we hear you,” said Philpott, flanked by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. “It is a fundamental human right.”

As Philpott spoke, however, a number of people in the crowd yelled out words like “Action” and “Build the school.”

The minister pressed on with her remarks, noting the Liberal government is committed to improving education for Indigenous students.

She also faced children holding up signs up with messages written in marker such as “We must feel safe” and “I want my little brothers to have a proper school to go to please.” 

“I tell you children today that I am going to work with you and with your chief and councillors to make sure you have the very best possible school to go to,” Philpott said. “I know we have temporary arrangements for this year.”

Philpott’s office says the government is prepared to build a modular school — which might later be moved — as part of the community’s request, an improvement over existing portables that mean students must endure frigid temperatures when moving between them.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, who attended the Parliament Hill rally, said the heckling of the minister reflects a greater concern about Ottawa’s level of action on some of its promises to Indigenous Peoples.

The community has waited a long time for a school, he added.

“I know there are some challenges with Kashechewan because they’re actually physically moving the entire community from flood-prone land to some place that’s dry,” Bellegarde said in an interview.

“There’s some challenges there so I think people are just demonstrating their frustration.”

NDP MP Charlie Angus, who represents the riding encompassing Kashechewan, said that the 11 portables currently used for schooling in the community look like they belong in a prison camp.

He raised the issue in question period on Monday, telling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Kashechewan students will “tell him that positive words isn’t going to build them a school.”

“It takes political will,” Angus said.

“In their short life, they have seen endless broken promises from government. So now we have the promise of another Band-Aid.”

Trudeau replied to Angus by saying the “road to reconciliation” with Indigenous Peoples is a long one but there are immediate steps the federal government can and must take.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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Charles’s Story – Rallying the community to provide computers to local students in need

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Charles’s Story – Rallying the community to provide computers to local students in need

When Charles found out that schools were closing at the same time his mom’s work was stopping, he was worried about how he would continue his studies. With only one computer at home and two students needing to access online learning, it was stressful trying to keep up.

United Way worked rapidly with our partners to identify the needs of the most vulnerable and rallied the community to provide supports such as computers for students in need to continue their education. Because supporters do local good, kids like Charles can succeed in school.

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Getting the Next Generation of Alberta Youth Excited about Renewable Energy with Eavor Technologies Inc.

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In February 2021, oil giants bp and Chevron, along with a number of other notable groups announced their decision to back Calgary-based geothermal company Eavor Technologies Inc. through a $40 million funding round. Since then, discussions regarding the pivot away from oil and gas into renewables have captured national interest. Is this a sign the shift is officially underway? 

Eavor Technologies is a local geothermal tech company making international waves in the global renewable energy arena. By revolutionizing the approach to geothermal energy, Eavor’s technology has eradicated several of the costly, inefficient measures associated with traditional geothermal. Without experiencing the limitations of traditional geothermal, nor being subject to intermittency issues associated with wind and solar, Eavor’s solution is one the world sorely needs. 

Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer recently commended Eavor in an address discussing ongoing economic diversification in Alberta, noting private sector investment in provincial geothermal wells. “Eavor Technologies of Calgary has raised significant money for this, and plans to produce enough geothermal power to heat thousands of homes over the next decade,” said Schweitzer. 

In light of recent developments in the oil and gas industry, Eavor’s ongoing mission to harness the Earth’s geothermal potential to provide reliable, scalable, baseload power for millions of homes in the coming years has taken on a new key component. 

Following the announcement, Eavor has taken several steps to further invest in academia in Alberta through the launch of an ongoing educational campaign aimed at engaging Alberta youth in the future of renewable energy in the province and across the nation. As a local, cutting edge technology company on a mission to positively change the world, Eavor recognizes the importance of encouraging the bright members of the young generation to ask questions and actively participate in the ongoing changes occurring in the  energy industry. 

“Eavor has developed a unique renewable energy solution by applying established or proven technologies in an innovative and creative way,” says Bailey Schwarz, Lead Engineer for Eavor. “Educating and engaging the next generation will encourage creative thinking and problem solving in the energy sector that will keep building on these innovations in every sector.” 

Earlier this month, Eavor Technologies Inc. announced a multi-year research and development partnership with the University of Calgary Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) valued at almost $1 million.
This partnership will focus on building on existing Alberta drilling technology to effectively further applications for geothermal exploration and development, while educating the public and creating new jobs for Albertans. 

Engaging young adults at the university level is a key part of Eavor’s investment in geothermal education and development in Alberta, however, it doesn’t end there.

On March 10, 2021, team members from Calgary tech company Eavor Technologies Inc. visited Bearspaw Christian School in northwest Calgary to present their cutting-edge closed loop geothermal technology to the 10th grade science classes.
The presentation was led by Eavor’s Lead Engineer Bailey Schwarz, Senior Business Development Leader Neil Ethier and Chief Business Development Officer, Paul Cairns. 

Eavor Lead Engineer Bailey Schwarz presents to Students at Bearspaw Christian School

The team introduced Eavor’s mission, discussed the differing forms of renewable energy and explained the Eavor-Loop in relation to traditional geothermal. Bailey Schwarz then covered thermodynamics before introducing Eavor-Lite, Eavor’s successful, third party validated demonstration project located in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.
“The presentations went really well,” says Schwarz, “I was really impressed with the interest the students showed and the challenging questions they asked our team.” 

The presentation to Bearspaw Christian School is part of Eavor’s ongoing educational outreach campaign designed to get the younger generation excited about ongoing developments in the field of renewable energy. As future scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, the bright students in Mr. Dallas Peterson’s 10th grade science class were captivated by Eavor’s presentation. They kept the team on their toes by asking endless questions to better understand the Eavor-Loop technology. “We were all really impressed by all the questions,” says Paul Cairns, CBDO of Eavor, “we really want to encourage these young kids to think differently.” 

Cairns closed the presentation by introducing a two-part Eavor Challenge. Part one is an opportunity for students to further explore Eavor’s global geothermal energy potential by determining the best possible location for a future Eavor-Loop. They were given a curated list of potential locations, which need to be ranked according to feasibility based on geological, economical, and socio-political factors – this list includes Mars. 

Eavor has partnered with Bearspaw Christian School to continue the challenge into the next school year, when a science research option being offered by Mr. Peterson will give students the chance to explore Eavor in extreme depth.
“I hope they come away from this experience excited for the future, and feeling that they will have an important part to play,” says Mr. Peterson, Bearspaw Secondary Science teacher, “I believe we need to foster the conversation with our youth surrounding the question, ‘in what ways could we envision energy alternatives?’ It’s so important to instill a hope for the future.” 

To encourage creativity alongside education, Eavor will be awarding an Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headset, pre-loaded with the Eavor-Lite Virtual Tour, to one student from each semester who exceeds the challenge.

Eavor prides itself on being at the forefront of renewable energy development in Alberta, and investment and education for Alberta’s youth and young adults is a crucial step in ensuring a successful, prosperous future for the province. Students in grade school, high school, university and graduate school all have an important part to play in furthering provincial and national goals surrounding the pivot towards renewable energy.
“Investing in our youth is investing in our future,” says Paul Cairns, Chief Business Development Officer for Eavor Technologies. Eavor is proud to play a part in getting the next generation of Alberta youth excited and engaged in renewable technology, and geothermal energy development.

University of Calgary Positions 

The University of Calgary is hiring several positions for its multi-year R&D project with Eavor Technologies. 

  • Research Associate in Drilling Operations, Drilling Performance Optimization, Data Analytics, Drilling Modelling and Control. M.Sc. in engineering required, industry experience and/or Ph.D. preferred.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow in Drilling Mechanics, Bit-Rock interaction Modelling and Non-Linear System Dynamics and Control. A recent Ph.D. in engineering required.
  • Three Ph.D. Research Assistantships in:

1) Hydraulic percussion hammer modelling

2) Physics-informed data-driven model development

3) Estimation techniques for digital twinning

To apply, please send your CV, Cover Letter, and a Writing Sample to Roman Shor at [email protected]   

Eavor’s virtual tour and link to the Oculus Quest App can be experienced here:

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