According to Wikipedia, advocacy is “the pursuit of influencing outcomes — including public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.”
Canadian Space advocates fill a unique position between governments and their agencies (like the CSA or the Department of National Defense) who develop and implement policies relating to space activities, universities (where most of the basic science is developed) and businesses like Telesat, MDA Space Missions or COM DEV International who do most of the actual building of things that relate to or get sent into space.
They belong to a wide variety of public, private and educational Canadian based organizations overlapping in members and expertise and with seemingly contradictory mandates. Try to introduce yourself to someone in a specific organization and you could start to feel a little like Brian in the Coliseum, attempting to join the Judean Peoples Front.
For those looking to keep score, here is a list of most of the existing Canadian Space advocates:
- The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) bills itself as “a member driven not-for-profit national trade association that promotes and facilitates Canadian competitiveness in the global market for aerospace goods and services.” They’ve been involved in a number of initiatives including the 2005 Canadian Aerospace Partnership but focus on space related activities primarily as an R&D subset of the larger commercial aerospace market. Similar organizations also exist at the provincial level and for a comprehensive list of most of the other Canadian aerospace industry focused organizations please check out the Ontario Aerospace Council).
- Athena Global is a privately owned think tank focused on “bringing space solutions to terrestrial problems” according to its website. They have written various position papers and orientation papers on a variety of topics including Space and National Security, Climate Change and Variability and other topics available for download on their web site.
- The Calgary Space Workers Society is a not-for-profit science club with the desire to “live and work in space” founded in 2004 “to build a space habitat or lunar station.” They hosted the 2007 Canadian Space Summit.
- The Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) is a non-profit scientific and technical organization for people interested in aeronautics, space and remote sensing. Formed in 1954 when the Montreal based Institute of Aircraft Technicians, the Ottawa Aeronautical Society, and the Canadian sections of the U.S. Institute of Aeronautical Sciences combined, CAISI is the oldest focus for communications and networking among the Canadian aeronautics and space community.
- The Canadian Auto Workers, one of Canada’s largest and highest profile trade unions has a big stake in the Canadian space industry through its representation of Canadian based unionized aerospace employees at:
- Boeing Canada (Local 1967 and CAW Local 2169)
- Bombardier/ de Havilland (Local 112)
- Cascade Aerospace (CAW Local 114)
- CMC Electronics and Magellan Aerospace/ Bristol (Local 3005)
- Pratt and Whitney Canada (Local 510)
- Canadian graduates and alumni of the International Space University (ISU) have organized a not-for-profit organization called the Canadian Alumni of the International Space University (CAISU) which focuses on “informing any interested party about space events in Canada” and “organizing conferences promoting space awareness among university level students, professionals and the community in general.” Their most recent National Space Awareness Workshops (for 2006 and 2008) are available online for download.
- The Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council is a not-for-profit sector council that represents and assists Canada’s aviation and aerospace industry with its human resource strategy, issues and solutions.
- The Canadian Space Commerce Association, a collaboration of Canadian entrepreneurs interested in the commercial opportunities available in the development of space. They helped organize and hosted a commerce and commercialization track at the 2008 Canadian Space Summit.
- The Canadian Space Society, a national non-profit organization of professionals and enthusiasts pursuing the human exploration and development of the Solar System. They present the yearly Canadian Space Summit
- CANEUS is a Montreal based, worldwide focused non-profit organization catering to the needs of the aerospace engineering community by fostering the coordinated development of Micro-Nano-Technologies (MNT) for aerospace applications. Their key focus is to find rapid and cost-effective methods for transitioning emerging MNT concepts through the “Valley of Death” for technology development.
- The Mars Society Canada is a chapter of the larger US based Mars Society. The goal of the organization is to “further the goal of exploration and settlement of the red planet.”
- Project Plowshares which compiles the "Space Security Index."
- The Rideau Institute on International Affairs an independent research and advocacy group focused on space security looking to build a public consensus on rebuilding Canadian space capabilities (among other things). Their most recent report on “The State of the Canadian Space Sector” is available on their website.
- The Secure World Foundation, although based in Colorado, this non-profit organization focused on space security and disarmament issues has a worldwide reach and lists Canadian based Project Plowshares and The Rideau Institute as partners. Activities include space situational awareness, space traffic management, mitigation of orbital debris and other areas. The sponsors "The Space Show" with Dr. David Livingston which is one of the best known and most respected new media outlets focusing on commercial space and related topics.
- Space Canada is an organization dedicated to facilitate “dialogue on space generated solar power.” The founding members (several of who were once actively involved in the Canadian Space Society) are organizing an international symposium on space based solar power generation in Toronto for fall 2009.
- Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is a high school and university focused group dedicated to expanding the role of human exploration and development of space. The Canadian chapter website (under the name U of T Astronomy & Space Exploration Society) and the University of Waterloo (under the name Waterloo Space Society) are good sites to visit.