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Alberta

Where Iron and Earth Meet – Oil & Gas Workers for Renewable Energy

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Iron and Earth is a Canadian non-profit organization led by oilsands workers who advocate for a balanced approach towards a green energy transition. The organization was founded in 2015 during the economic crisis that led to the termination of thousands of oil and gas workers nationwide. It began as a collective of boots-on-the-ground employees who had experienced the hard times brought on by the boom-bust nature of the oil and gas industry, and wanted to be a part of the movement to diversify and build resilience in Canada.

According to the Iron and Earth mission statement, Where Iron and Earth Meet, “There’s a place for the oilsands, and there’s a place for renewable energy. The intention is not to shut down the oilsands, but to see they are managed more sustainably while developing our renewable energy resources more ambitiously.” 

Dialogues surrounding sustainability and diversification often place renewable energy alternatives at odds with the oil and gas industry, with little room for productive discussion. Iron and Earth provides a platform for oilsands workers, business owners, non-profits, politicians and consumers to meet at the same table and collaborate effectively to build a more sustainable future for all Canadians. Rather than contribute to divisive narratives that position oil and gas and renewable energy as mutually exclusive industries, Iron and Earth advocates for a balanced approach towards diversification, sustainability and a renewable transition.

“Iron and Earth is proof of the dichotomy of people working in the oil and gas industry who care about the environment very, very much,” says Bruce Wilson, board member for Iron and Earth. “There is a diverse array of political affiliations and backgrounds within the organization, from individuals presently working in oil and gas to those who have recently transitioned, to those who have never worked in the industry at all.” Wilson joined Iron and Earth in 2018 after more than 30 years in the oil and gas industry, including 17 years with Shell International. 

By focusing on industry overlaps, Iron and Earth highlights the ways in which fossil fuels and renewable energy can be beneficial, reinforcing sectors that can produce positive outcomes for the Canadian workforce and the global climate crisis. “Fortunately for many of the workers who are affected by the ongoing boom and bust cycles of the oilsands, many renewable energy jobs require the same skills and tradespeople that are currently working in the Canadian oil and gas industry” (1).

Iron and Earth streamlines the transfer of skills between industries by offering a number of programs and resources to support workers seeking to transition away from fossil fuels into renewable energy.  This includes offering training, classroom education, and hands-on experience to broaden the understanding of industry overlaps that will aid oil and gas workers in finding their fit in clean technology.

These processes and resources operate with respect to the reality that transitions away from oil and gas into renewables can be a daunting and difficult process for many. Former Canadian oil and gas worker and current Iron and Earth spokesperson, Nick Kendrick, came to Iron and Earth in 2018 after reaching a fork in the road in his own career path. After 5 years in oil and gas, Kendrick was faced with the employment insecurity many workers in the Canadian oil and gas industry are familiar with. “When I started in oil and gas, prices were booming,” he says, “but by the time I got up north, the industry was struggling. People were getting laid off, and I realized it might be time to make a move.” 

Kendrick made the decision to return to school at the University of Calgary, where he pursued a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Energy. It was there he connected with Iron and Earth for his capstone project, where he facilitated the drafting of a strategic path forward for the organization. This included mapping out geographic locations that offered the most opportunity to deliver impactful training workshops and support upcoming renewable energy projects, as well as encourage Indigenous participation.
“Leaving oil and gas for renewables is a very scary thing, especially in Alberta,” says Kendrick, “I admire how Iron and Earth’s approach is not to completely abandon the oilsands. They’ve been very foundational for Canada, but they’re not sustainable. It’s time to help each other progress onto something new.”

In September 2020, Iron and Earth unveiled their Prosperous Transition Plan, framing the future for Canada’s green transition. The Prosperous Transition Plan boldly calls on the Trudeau Government to invest $110 billion over the next decade into a green recovery for Canada. The plan highlights four focal points of the Canadian economy: workforce, business, infrastructure and environment. With an emphasis on repurposing oil and gas infrastructure and getting people back to work, Iron and Earth’s Prosperous Transition Plan focuses on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, decarbonizing the economy and addressing inequality to ensure a prosperous future. 

With more than 1000 active members across Canada from a variety of industrial trades, Iron and Earth is continually expanding and advocating for ethical, legitimate solutions to facilitate Canada’s transition to renewable energy. “These are not utopian suggestions,” says Wilson, “they are pragmatic solutions that require purposeful, ambitious action from the government … Change and thrive is the business model for the future.”

To learn more about Iron and Earth’s mission and Prosperous Transition Plan, visit https://www.ironandearth.org

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Homan remains in top spot after stealing point in 10th end for win over Carey

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CALGARY — Ontario’s Rachel Homan kicked off play in the championship pool Friday with a 7-6 victory over Chelsea Carey of Team Wild Card One at the Canadian women’s curling playdowns.

Carey, who’s filling in at skip for Tracy Fleury this week, had hammer in the 10th end but gave up a steal of one when she barely missed a runback double-takeout attempt.

The top-seeded Homan improved to 8-1 along with Canada’s Kerri Einarson, who defeated Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson 10-6.

In other early games at the Markin MacPhail Centre, Alberta’s Laura Walker needed an extra end to get by Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges 7-6 and Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones posted a 12-8 win over Beth Peterson of Team Wild Card Three.

Another draw was scheduled for Friday night and three more draws were set for Saturday.

Homan, a three-time Hearts champion, started slowly by settling for singles in three of the first five ends. Carey, who edged Homan in the 2019 Scotties final, picked up deuces in the second and fourth before giving up a steal in the sixth.

Carey tried to blank the seventh end but her stone hung around for a point. Homan was a tad wide on an up-weight raise attempt in the eighth, allowing Carey to steal for a two-point cushion.

A Homan deuce tied the game but Carey couldn’t take advantage of hammer coming home.

Jones, meanwhile, who’s aiming for a record seventh national title, stole five points in the 10th end to improve to 7-2. Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec were tied in fourth place at 6-3 and the remaining wild-card teams were at 5-4.

The top three teams in the eight-team pool will advance to the playoffs Sunday.

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal for a berth in the evening final against the first-place team.

The Hearts winner will return as Team Canada at the 2022 national playdowns in Thunder Bay, Ont. The champion will also earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The men’s national championship — the Tim Hortons Brier — starts March 5 at the same Canada Olympic Park venue. The Hearts is the first of six bonspiels to be held at the arena through late April.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta and its physicians move to end ugly feud over fees with new tentative deal

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government and its 11,000 physicians have taken a first step toward resolving an ugly, fractious year-long dispute over fees and working conditions.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Paul Boucher, the head of the Alberta Medical Association, say they have reached a tentative deal on a new master agreement.

Boucher declined to provide specifics, saying he first wants to let members discuss and ratify the deal and that it will work within the government’s “budget imperatives.”

Alberta’s physicians collectively receive $5 billion a year, and the Alberta budget will see that figure rise slightly to $5.3 billion over the next three years.

A year ago, Shandro unilaterally cancelled the master agreement with the AMA and began imposing new rules on fees and visits, saying physician costs were rising too high year over year and were not sustainable.

That led some doctors to withdraw services, the AMA launched a lawsuit and Shandro was criticized for fighting with doctors in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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february, 2021

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