Ministerial Deck – Aerospace/Remote Sensing

Recently, Alberta’s International and Intergovernmental Minister Hon. Cal Dallas traveled to the United States to meet with aerospace product and service providers. According to the news release, issued shortly before his trip, this industry contributes $1.3 billion to the provincial economy. The U of L designed a Ministerial Deck (general briefing) which was sent to the Minister shortly before he departed. As this document illustrates, the U of L through the graduates it has trained, and through its research endeavours, has contributed to this area in a significant way.

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Ministers engaging with U of L in months after provincial election

New provincial cabinet ministers are taking time to meet their respective stakeholders over the summer months and a few recent interactions at the U of L are worth noting.

First, during the spring convocation in which Pete Standing Alone was conferred an honourary degree, Minister of Aboriginal Relations Robin Campbell brought greetings on behalf of the province. The convocation, which celebrated the achievements of U of L students as well as the contributions of Pete Standing Alone, was an event that incorporated many examples of the importance the U of L puts on Aboriginal education. Minister Campbell’s short address stated that the Alberta government has made it a priority that FNMI students are able to fully benefit from Alberta’s  education system as well as be able to participate in “opportunities created by a prosperous an diverse province.”

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Minister Diana McQueen listens to U of L researcher Stewart Rood as she tours the Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building.

More recently, the U of L welcomed Environment and Sustainable Resource Minister Diana McQueen to campus. McQueen, who delivered remarks at the recent Water in a World of 7 Billion conference, organized in large part by the U of L, met with the U of L iGEM team and toured the Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building, where she met with some of the U of L’s water and terrestrial imaging researchers.

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Alberta Throne Speech Delivered May 23, 2012

For the second time this year, an Alberta Throne Speech was delivered by Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Ethell in the Alberta Legislature. The speech opened the first legislative session since last months election. The full text of the speech can be found here.

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2012-13 Federal Budget Released

Earlier today Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released the 2012-13 federal budget. The $5.2 billion cut was less than most expected.

The Government of Canada budget documents can be found here. Regarding research the government press release states “the Government is committed to providing additional resources to support advanced research at universities and other leading research institutions. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:

  • Reinvesting $37 million annually starting in 2012–13 to the granting councils to enhance their support for industry-academic research partnerships.
  • $60 million for Genome Canada to launch a new applied research competition in the area of human health, and to sustain the Science and Technology Centres until 2014–15.
  • $6.5 million over three years for a research project at McMaster University to evaluate team-based approaches to health care delivery.
  • $17 million over two years to further advance the development of alternatives to existing isotope production technologies.
  • $10 million over two years to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to link Canadians to global research networks.
  • $500 million over five years to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support new competitions, including for the College-Industry Innovation Fund, with funding starting in 2014–15.
  • $40 million over two years to support CANARIE’s operation of Canada’s ultra-high speed research network.
  • $23 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to enhance satellite data reception capacity.

The Association of University and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) reacted positively to the budget. Their response can be found here.


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Advanced Education and Technology Estimates debated

Earlier today, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta posted the Hansard of the debate that took place last week regarding Advanced Education and Technology’s budget estimates. As part of the budget process, each department’s budget is debated by MLAs and each Minister is required to defend its budget estimates. Last week’s debate illustrated the importance that all parties are placing on Alberta’s post-secondary sector, as well as how wide ranging the issues are related to this portfolio. Operating grants, capital, access, affordability, research, commercialization, specific barriers for aboriginal students and quality were just some of the topics that were discussed.

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Province announces changes to Alberta’s student aid program

This morning Advanced Education and Technology Minister Greg Weadick announced changes to Alberta’s student aid program.

From the backgrounder released by the Government of Alberta.

Changes to Alberta’s student aid program come into effect August 1, 2012.

Eligibility requirements:

  • introducing flat student contribution rate of $1,500 (reduced to zero for students who are single parents); and,
  • eliminating parental contributions, RRSP and part time earning from being considered as part of eligibility for the provincial portion of all student loans (still required for federal loans).

Completion and retention grants for students with loans:

  • graduates with a technical certificate would receive $1,000;
  • graduates with a diploma would receive $1,500;
  • graduates with an undergraduate or graduate degree would receive $2,000; and,
  • graduates in essential occupations who work in Alberta for three years would receive $1,000. Professions included in the program will be announced at a later date.

Other improvements to the system include:

  • extending the interest-free grace period by six-month before repayments are required;
  • ensuring students who move from full time to part time studies are not required to begin repaying loans until they graduate and are not charged interest;
  • removing restrictions for Alberta students studying internationally;
  • streamlining the application and appeal processes; and,
  • improving the quality of client services and communications.
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Government of Alberta’s Budget Released

Yesterday afternoon, Finance Minister Ron Liepert released the Alberta government’s 2012-13 budget. The budget, which predicts a $886 million deficit this year but surpluses in the following two, introduced a three-year budget cycle for the post-secondary sector that include two-percent annual increases. The budget also promised to “increase support for scientific research through an expanded tax credit, and boost funding for prion and water research by $9 million.” It is expected more details around some of the items relating to post-secondary education will be released in the coming weeks.

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Alberta Throne Speech (post-secondary comments)

This afternoon Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Ethell delivered the Speech From The Throne in the Alberta Legislature. Post-secondary education was recognized as “a key driver of a robust knowledge-inspired economy”. The Alberta Government also promised to “attract the world’s top talent to Alberta that will position (Alberta) on the international stage”. Research areas specifically mentioned include water, food, health and improving quality of life. The Government also committed to creating strategies that would ensure more Metis and First Nations students could participate in post-secondary opportunities.

Below is the complete section pertaining to post-secondary education. Full text of the speech can be found here.

Education is one way to protect that standard of living. The nature of work and progress is changing and as technology advances, the demand for highly skilled, educated workers will increase.

Alberta must be able to succeed and thrive in the global knowledge economy, and that means giving every Albertan the opportunity to benefit from a cutting-edge education, from kindergarten to post-secondary, so everyone can reach their full potential.

Your government will strengthen Alberta’s post-secondary sector, recognizing it as a key driver of a robust knowledge-inspired economy. By enhancing our trade and technology institutes and colleges, this government will help Alberta nurture the most highly skilled and trained workforce anywhere. Through the Building and Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Strategy, your government will increase the supply of highly skilled, educated and innovative people and high-performance work environments that make maximum use of innovation and technology.

Your government will attract the world’s top talent to Alberta to contribute to a research agenda that will position this province on the international stage as a leader in helping to solve many of the world’s challenges in energy, water, food, health and improving our quality of life.

Your government will identify strategies to recruit more students from Metis and First Nations communities, so they can continue to contribute to Alberta’s success and solidify the bonds that sustain their heritage and keep their communities together.

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MLA Weadick, Alderman Carlson Participate in $100,000 Cheque Presentation at Pronghorns Game

At Friday night’s Pronghorns game, a brief cheque presentation ceremony took place to recognize financial government support in the renovations of the Pronghorn Men’s dressing room at Nicholas Sheran Arena. Here is the statement that was announced at the game.

“At this time we would like to direct your attention to centre ice for an important presentation.  Please welcome Greg Weadick, Lethbridge West MLA, Alderman Jeff Carlson from the City of Lethbridge, Peter Neufeld and Don Gatto from the Pronghorn Men’s Hockey Alumni Association.

In September, the Pronghorn Men’s Hockey Team moved into their new, professional quality Team Room.   This renovation was made possible because of a partnership between the Province of Alberta, the City of Lethbridge and the Pronghorn Men’s Hockey Alumni Association.

Pronghorn Hockey is proud of their new room and is happy to supports the use of that space by Hockey Academies, Camps and regional and provincial competitions.

Under the guidance of the City of Lethbridge, retrofits of the original building have been ongoing to bring the facility up to par with the new additions, and make Nicholas Sheran Arena a 1st class facility for hosting events.  We appreciate the City fast tracking the work and their leadership and financial support for the project.

The Province of Alberta, through the Community Facility Enhancement Program provided a $100,000 grant to help fund the renovations to the building.  CFEP is a provincial program that supports quality of life and citizen well-being initiatives, in communities across the province.  Greg Weadick, Lethbridge West MLA, is with us tonight, and is pleased to show his support for this community based project, by presenting a $100,000 cheque to the representatives from the Pronghorn Men’s Alumni.

On behalf of the pronghorn Men’s Hockey Team thank you to all of our partners for your contribution to this project.”

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U of L included in Ministers’ tour

The University of Lethbridge hosted Culture and Community Spirit Minister Heather Klimchuk and Advanced Education and Technology Minister Greg Weadick this morning as part of the cabinet tours that are taking place across the province. Minister Klimchuk, in a previous role, was on campus last year and toured the Art Gallery and saw some of the amazing pieces that make up part of the University’s renown collection. This year’s tour built on that experience. The Ministers visited the U of L’s state-of-the-art Digital Audio Arts Lab and saw some of the storage facilities that house the art collection.

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