Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

International Education Week

Were you aware that November 15 – 19 has been designated as the International Education Week? If not, then you’re not alone. In my weekly run through of the Federal and Provincial government news releases, only two provinces held any mention of International Education Week. So if you live in New Brunswick ( or Newfoundland and Labrador (, congratulations! At least your provincial government understands how international students and education are a great benefit to a province, not only economically but by bringing new and innovative ideas to Canada.

It’s a bit disturbing however that none of the other provinces had anything about this week, and more disturbing that it hasn’t been recognized in Alberta, home of AU, and hence to a large number of international students. Perhaps worst of all is that even AU doesn’t have any indications of this going on. I can only think that somebody must have goofed, because if there was ever a time to press on the Alberta Government how important AU is, it would be during an International Education Week in the last week of a provincial election campaign.

This would be a legitimate time for AU to crow to the government about its programs, and for the government to crow to the people of how forward thinking they are, or some such, hopefully while handing over big bags of money from the now debt-free surplus.

I guess we’ll have to wait another four years to try again.

AU Receives $Half-Million Research Chair

The Federal Government has announced its latest round of Research Chair ( funding recipients. Over 170 million dollars for research chairs have been announced across Canada this November. AU is one of the beneficiaries of that, with Heather Kanuka receiving a Research Chair in e-Learning. This means that the federal government will supply up to a half million dollars to AU in support of her research in this field.

Congratulations to Heather on this achievement, one that not only benefits AU directly, but given the distance learning model, stands to provide benefits to all AU students.

Speaking of Research

The Federal Government has also announced $187 million to go to health research across Canada over the next five years. The Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health, and Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), made the announcement which included all aspects of Health Research.

This money will go to 442 projects across Canada, the lion’s share of which are located in Ontario and Quebec, with Alberta and British Columbia receiving significant amounts as well. This is being done to help spur researchers to come to Canada, which has five of the top ten places to work in Academia outside the US according to a recent survey in The Scientist magazine.

More Free Software

The Government of Saskatchewan has followed suit with Alberta by announcing a deal ( to provide free Microsoft Software to students across the province. Not as large as the Office deal Alberta received, this one allows Computer Science students in Saskatchewan to receive the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET package–normally a $399 purchase–for free. Unfortunately, this does not apply to post-secondary students, but rather only to those from grades 10-12.

Microsoft seems to be actively pushing their product with various governments across Canada, no doubt much like Apple did a few decades ago, hoping to acquire a whole generation of computer users.

While we’ve seen how well that worked out for Apple, it remains to be seen how well that will work for Microsoft. In the meantime, we might as well enjoy receiving what we can.

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