Hill Times Aerospace Policy Briefing Includes My Thoughts

I was contacted by the Hill Times for their annual Aerospace Policy Briefing and queried for my thoughts on Canada’s space program, specifically on the governments investment and space policy.

My thoughts were included in two articles; Liberals look to be a renewed voice of space sector amid cutbacks and Canadian Space Agency study to make economic argument for space investment.

You can download a free copy of the briefing from the Hill Times website.

My Aviation Week Commentary in the September 29, 2014 Issue

I provided Aviation Week an article for the September 29, 2014 issue which was released on the first day of the International Astronautical Congress in Toronto. In the commentary I discussed some the ramifications of the Canadian federal election next year. Here’s an excerpt. You can read the full commentary on the Aviation Week website (paywall).

Canada’s Next Election Could Help Boost the Space Program

“Canada’s next federal election isn’t until October 19, 2015, but the unofficial campaign is already underway as parliamentarians returned to Ottawa this month for the start of the fall session. The Conservative Party currently holds a majority in Parliament and has seen the number of its seats increase in the past three elections. The party will have been in power for nine consecutive years, its longest uninterrupted period since the late 19th century.”

“The Conservatives, during their tenure, have kept a tight rein on finances in an effort to keep the Canadian economy moving forward during difficult years and to balance the books, eliminate the deficit and have a surplus heading into next year’s election. You might think that would be cause enough to get reelected, think again.”

Would a Liberal Government Reform the Canadian Space Program?

I recently published a story, some 3000 words, a speculative piece on what the consequences would be if the Liberals won the election next year. Here’s an excerpt.

Would a Liberal Government Reform the Canadian Space Program?

Parliament has adjourned for the summer and members of parliament (MP) are back in their ridings doing the summer BBQ circuit. But when they get back in the fall they’ll be in full election mode. So this seems an appropriate time as any to look ahead and gaze into my crystal ball and see what would happen if the Liberal’s were elected.

The next federal election is set by law for October 19, 2015. However the government has the option to call the election sooner and the political rumour mill is churning with that possibility.

With the economy supposedly doing better, and after several years of austerity, and with an election looming, the 2015 budget should see some increased spending. Will that translate into a boost for Canada’s space program. Likely not, as it’s not a priority topic with the average Canadian, who for the most part, are unaware to what degree their daily lives are affected by Canada’s space program and assets. So as an election issue it has no traction.

The Conservative government has been conservative with the Canadian space program. Base funding has been decreasing and only one national priority project is being funded to completion, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission. It seems unlikely the conservative government would change its position if it was re-elected.

But what is a Liberal government was elected?

While Liberal governments in the recent past haven’t exactly been generous towards Canada’s space program, they have invested more than the Conservatives.

So would a Liberal government invest more in Canada’s space program than the Conservatives would? I believe they would and here’s why.

Read the full story on SpaceRef Canada.

Astronauts? Check. Available Flights to the International Space Station? Um, Ottawa we a Problem

On July 2 I was live on CTV News Channel discussing Canada’s astronaut core and the lack of flights available to them to serve on the International Space Station until at least 2017. Unfortunately the interview was short and I was unable to bring up all the points I wanted to. This included the fact that a new commercial option(s) in the U.S. may be available in 2017 with the price per seat being as low as $20 million as compared to the current $70 million required by the Russians for which the U.S. is now paying.