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Can Canadian oil and gas win the race to net zero? A Panel Discussion

Posted on: Mar 28, 2022

The Canadian Energy Industry is stepping up to the challenge of being the most responsible, technically advanced, and environmentally focused energy provider on the planet.

Join us in-person or virtually on Thursday, March 31st, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for an engaging discussion with Canadian Energy sector leaders and influencers.

Hear how emerging technologies developed by the Canadian energy sector are key to our transition to net zero.

Be inspired to Lean In! to the “Key to our Future Economy.”

REGISTER to attend in-person HERE!

REGISTER to attend virtually HERE!

Convergence Technologies

Moderator: Greg Fagnan — CEO, Blue Marval AI 


  • Heidi McKillop — Contributor, SecondStreet.org 
  • Ryan Bourns — Business Development & Strategy Lead, Carbon Upcycling Technologies 
  • Michael Binnion — President & CEO, Questerre Energy

Indigenous Communities & the Canadian Energy Sector

Moderator: Steven Saddleback — Director, National Energy Business Centre of Excellence at Indian Resource Council of Canada


  • Chief Judy Desjarlais — Chief, Blueberry River First Nation; President, Top Notch Oilfield Contracting Ltd. 
  • Ellis Ross — MLA, Skeena, Former Chief, Haisla Nation

Canadian Energy is the Key to our Future Economy – So, Lean In!

Moderator: Steven L. Major — Partner, Bennett Jones & Chair, Canadian Energy Executive Association 


  • Dr. David Detomasi — Adjunct Associate Professor & Distinguished Faculty Fellow of International Business, Queens University
  • Lynn Exner — COO, Canada Action Coalition

DATE: MARCH 31, 2022

TIME: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  

LOCATION: Concordia University of Alberta (Al and Trish Huehn Theatre) AND Virtual (ZOOM)


REGISTER to attend in-person HERE!

REGISTER to attend virtually HERE!

Please reach out to Dr. Isha Katyal, Director, Innovation and Industry, in case of questions. 

Release Consent

Please note that the session will be recorded and posted on Concordia University of Edmonton website. By signing up for the event, you hereby consent and authorize the Concordia University of Edmonton to use your testimonials/comments and any photographs, video, or audio recordings taken of you for internal and external newsletters; news releases; journalist requests; and Concordia University of Edmonton promotional materials, including the World Wide Web, printed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, CD-ROMs, posters and in any and all other media, whether now known or hereafter existing, controlled by the Concordia University of Edmonton. You will make no monetary or other claims against the Concordia University of Edmonton for the use of the above-mentioned media.


Moderator: Greg Fagnan

Greg is an accomplished senior leader, entrepreneur, and collaboration builder with passions for operations, strategy, partnerships, and technology. Greg has led the operating division in a large Canadian energy operator, founded the Regional Oil Sands Alliance, and currently leads a software technology company that specializes in industrial machine learning. Greg has an Instrumentation Engineering Technology diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration (specializing in Global Energy) from the University of Calgary. Greg sits on the board of the Canadian Energy Executive Association and the Bow River Basketball Association.


Heidi McKillop 

Heidi McKillop is a country girl at heart, born and raised in a small village called Harvey Station, New Brunswick. Heidi’s first job, age 14, was washing dishes and preparing meals at the local nursing home. She has also worked within the restaurant industry, tourism, long term care, customer service, office management, and the energy industry. Heidi earned her first degree in sociology at St. Thomas University. She later completed her second degree in social work from St. Thomas.  

Heidi enjoys camping and hiking in the beautiful Kananaskis Country. She also enjoys horseback riding and learning new ranching skills. She is an avid reader and loves the social aspects of living in downtown Calgary. 

Ryan Bourns

Originally based in Ontario, Ryan Bourns moved to Calgary to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Calgary. There, he graduated with his Masters of Science in Sustainable Energy Development. This complemented his Bachelors of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph. Ryan is Business Development and Strategy Lead for Carbon Upcycling Technologies Inc, whose vision is “to become the world’s most impactful carbon utilization company by making carbon-derived additives that will lower the embodied carbon of every-thing we interact with, which ultimately helps us build a better tomorrow”. He is also co-founder of Green Mesa which offers intelligent monitoring of emissions measurement, re-porting, and rotating equipment performance. Driven by his desire to see more collaborative, sustainable thinking in industry, Ryan is adding value and new insights to the future transformation of industries with his work.

Michael Binnion   

Michael Binnion is the President and CEO and founding shareholder of Questerre Energy, established in November 2000. Questerre is a public oil and gas production company with operations in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Jordan. He has been a leader in the campaign for hydrocarbons in Quebec as Chairman of the Quebec Oil & Gas Association. 

Mr. Binnion is a seasoned entrepreneur with a history of starting, financing and managing companies and not-for- profits. He has extensive experience as a board member for several high-tech companies in Canada. Additionally, he is the Executive Director of Rupert’s Crossing Ltd., a private merchant banking firm. 

He is also Chairman of both High Arctic Energy Services and the Manning Foundation. Most recently he founded the Modern Miracle Network, an organization of Canadians wanting adult conversations including the benefits and not just the impacts of energy use. 

A first-generation Albertan born in Calgary, Mr. Binnion is not only passionate about entrepreneurship but also a community-minded individual concerned with the prospects for future generations of Canadians. He is the founder and chairman of the Lesley Binnion Foundation for Disabled Sports, helping hundreds of kids and families make the extraordinary achievement of learning to ski a reality. 

Mr. Binnion has published a peer reviewed geological paper in Marine and Petroleum Geology as well as two climate policy papers in Policy Options. 

He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Finance from the University of Alberta and is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants of Alberta. 


Moderator: Steven Saddleback 

Steve Saddleback, Director of the National Energy Business Centre of Excellence (NEBCE) at the Indian Resource Council of Canada (IRC). A member of Treaty 6 from the Samson Cree Nation located in Maskwacis, AB. Mr. Saddleback has worked for a number of national and international organizations in Finance, Real Estate investment, Banking, Economic Development, Fiscal Relations and was a co‐owner of an Oil and Gas lease construction company in Northeastern British Columbia. Steve volunteers his time on numerous boards including the Indigenous Opportunities Committee at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, SADLBAK Trucking, Samson Cree Nation – Nipisihkopahk Wellness and Social Development Committee, Nipisihkopahk Miyomacihowyn Society, Co‐Chair of the program advisory committee and board member for the ReDeveLop initiative – University of Calgary, and is the Vice‐President of the Circle for Aboriginal Relations Society. Steve is adamant on working towards meaningful involvement of indigenous communities in all areas of the economy with a focus on the Energy sector.


Ellis Ross 

Ellis Ross was first elected MLA for Skeena in 2017, and re-elected in 2020. He has served as the Official Opposition critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and as Official Opposition critic for LNG and Resource Opportunities. 

Ellis has worked in both the private and public sectors, and has business experience in hand logging, beachcombing, and construction. Ellis worked full time as a taxi boat operator until the Haisla Nation Council requested that he become their first full‐time counselor. Ellis served in this position for eight years, from 2003 to 2011. In 2011, Ellis was elected Chief Coun‐cillor of the Haisla Nation, and was re-elected by acclamation in 2013. 

Ellis has been recognized as a business leader by both BC Business magazine and Canadian Business magazine. In 2012, Ellis was appointed the inaugural chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council. In 2014, he was the only First Nations leader among 25 Canadians invited by then‐Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to a public policy and budget retreat. In recognition of his community service, Ellis was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013 and the Order of BC in 2014. 

Ellis actively enjoys golf, soccer, and basketball. He has a passion for seeing people succeed in athletics, school, and life, which drove his coaching style. One of the highlights of his coaching career is coaching the Mount Elizabeth Secondary School senior girls’ basketball team to a zone championship. He is a proud father of two daughters and a proud grandfather. 

Chief Judy Desjarlais 

Judy Desjarlais of the Blueberry River First Nations, located in Treaty 8 Territory, Northeast BC, is Dunne’za/ Nehiyaw (Beaver/Cree) raised by her Grandparents May & Bernard Apsassin. Her recent election win, in January of 2022, saw her walking onto a great platform provided by the tremendous victory of the BC Provincial Court ruling on the Treaty Rights for her Nation. This victory set precedence for other Nations who will surely utilize Blueberry River First Nation’s win as a model for Treaty Rights and what it means for the future of their members, and future generations.  


Moderator: Steven L. Major 

Steve Major is a litigation partner at Bennett Jones, representing individuals and corporations on a broad array of matters. He is the current Chair of the 71st Canadian Energy Executives Association. Steve is a member of the Bennett Jones Energy Services Group team, a Past President of the Calgary Bar Association and an active member of the Canadian Bar Association. Steve is a strong advocate for the Canadian Energy Industry, speaking and moderating for the Canadian Energy Executive Association, Queen’s University Oil and Gas Speakers’ Series, and Indian Resource Council’s Indigenous Participation in Major Projects Conference. In the Spring of 2020, Steve led a (successful) effort to advocate against a proposal Queen’s University’s Board of Trustees were considering to divest Queen’s endowment away from Canadian Energy equities. In May 2020, Steve authored an Opposition Article and successfully opposed the “Climate Justice Resolution” motion at the 2021 Canadian Bar Association Annual General Meeting, as the leading speaker against it. Steve is deeply connected in the Western Canadian business community. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the annual Calgary Flames Ambassadors’ Charity Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament, and was recently a 20-year volunteer with the Calgary Stampede, having chaired its Western Legacy Awards Committee, and then more recently chairing its Innovation Committee. 


Dr. David Detomasi 

Dr. Detomasi is an associate professor of international business at the Smith School of Business, and is a Distinguished Faculty Fellow In International Business. He completed his PhD. from the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University in 1999, specializing in international political economy. He also holds a Master of Arts in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Queen’s University, and is a graduate of the Executive Program on the Global Financial System from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Detomasi’s research interests include globalization, geopolitics and global business, corporate strategy, and corporate and non-profit governance.

His book Profits and Power: Navigating the Politics and Geopolitics of Oil, will be published in the summer of 2022 by the University of Toronto Press.

Lynn Exner   

As Chief Operating Officer of Canada Action Coalition, a grassroots advocacy organization focused on promoting Canadian natural resources, Lynn is responsible for the strategy and execution of Canada Action’s awareness campaigns across Canada. Lynn collaborates with Indigenous, youth, community, and industry leaders across Canada through speaking engagements, public events, and media relations. Ms. Exner oversees Canada Action’s volunteer network, local partnerships, and public relations activities. She is accountable for maintaining the foundational commitment to non-partisan, positive, fact-based messaging across all mediums. 

A science enthusiast, Lynn began her career as a high school Chemistry teacher and student activism coordinator. After 12 years, she left teaching to grow a business consulting firm focused on wealth management and employee benefits. An entrepreneur, Ms. Exner then owned a marketing firm for six years, providing services largely to the trades, re-source, and education sectors. 

Ms. Exner is an avid volunteer and has organized nationwide student leadership conferences; charity music and sports festivals; and several creative and traditional non-profit fundraising campaigns. She is involved with several Artificial Intelligence organizations and was instrumental in developing Saskatoon’s first co-working space. Lynn holds degrees in Education, French, and Chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan. 

This panel discussion is organized by the McNeil Centre for Applied Renewable Energy (McNeil C.A.R.E) at the Concordia University of Edmonton in collaboration with the Canadian Energy Executive Association.