Michael Binder, Industry Canada's Assistant Deputy Minister for Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunication and Lillian Beaudoin, Partnerships Program Officer with First Nations SchoolNet visited the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Sioux Lookout office today.
Geordi Kakepetum and the several members of his team provided our guests with a tour of the facilities and telecom infrastructure that has been put in place over the past 10 years in partnership with Industry Canada.
As a follow up to this brief meeting the following message was forwarded to Mr. Binder on Friday, September 17 ...
Good morning Michael … I want to thank you and Lillian for taking the time to visit Keewaytinook Okimakanak in Sioux Lookout yesterday. I believe it is very important for as many people as possible to get to see the type of strategic investment, the innovations and the opportunities that have been created through the development of broadband infrastructure. Over the years, Industry Canada programs (FedNor, CAP, SchoolNet, Smart, Brand, NSI, etc) have supported the development of all the applications you got to see during your brief trip to our community. I hope you are able to accept our sincere thanks on behalf of your team for making these types of strategic developments possible for the rural and remote communities in this region of Canada.
There is still so much more work to be done to ensure all the communities in Canada are able to experience and develop similar applications that address their local and regional requirements. As discussed, the K-Net team is ready and willing to work with your team to help make these developments possible. We look forward to having more people from your team visiting Geordi Kakepetum and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak offices in Balmertown / Red Lake to learn more about these applications. Our technical team in Sioux Lookout also welcomes all visitors and potential partners.
Dan and I realized afterwards that in our rushed agenda that you did not get a chance to visit our server and satellite operations centre in the building in the rear of the K-Net office. This building was recently renovated with the support of FedNor to accommodate Dan and Adi Linden’s office along with the servers and NOC/NMS for the satellite served communities. This omission is an example of why you need to plan another trip to the north when you are able to visit some of the First Nations that are benefiting these strategic broadband infrastructure development investments by Industry Canada working in partnership with the communities.
I hope that you will be able to bring more people with you the next time you visit, including the Minister of Industry and hopefully the Prime Minister. Sending other key decision makers to visit the organizations and communities is an important professional development requirement for everyone working in this field. I believe they too need to see the type of health care and educational applications you witnessed yesterday, being managed and operated in these communities by local resource people. The socio-economic opportunities created by these strategic broadband developments complement all the other infrastructure requirements of all communities. Without the broadband infrastructure, the other infrastructure priorities discussed (water, sewer, roads, etc) really have very little local influence within today’s information society.
Other important items discussed that require further follow up and development include:
Cal is busy going through all the video footage that he gathered yesterday during your visit. I am sure that he will be taking you up on your challenge to produce a four minute video clip that you will be able to show to the world. Maybe this message that I am copying to all the RMOs might be the challenge for everyone to be producing such a clip about all the great work in developing broadband infrastructure and applications that is happening in the First Nations across Canada.
I also want to acknowledge Dr. Dermot McLoughlin who provided us with a great presentation about his use of the teleradiology services. Carol Wood, Menoyawin Telehealth Coordinator, demonstrated and explained how the telehealth equipment is making a difference for all the communities with these resources in place. Then the staff and students of the North Caribou Lake First Nation Internet High School shared how these ICTs are making a difference for their community. Brian Walmark of the Keewaytinook Research Institute shared some of the work he is doing in documenting these success stories and First Nation case studies about the use of ICTs in local schools and communities. Of course, the great feast prepared by Jeannie Carpenter and her team helped all us continue through this crazy meeting pace.
I hope you get the chance to return to this region in the near future. I do look forward to working with yourself and your team in support all rural and remote communities to access equitable, affordable and sustainable broadband infrastructure and applications. I am sure these developments and this important work will make a huge difference for every community across Canada.