By Chuck Black
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Sunday decision to dissolve Parliament and begin the formal 78 day campaign culminating in an October 19th, 2015 Federal election will immediately end any further announcements of Federal funding being channeled into local constituencies, at least until after the campaign concludes and the voters have spoken.
|PM Harper handing out hearty meals to Canadian troops during the Calgary Stampede in July 2015. For an interesting discussion of what will happen as the unofficial election campaign transitions into the formal campaign, it's worth checking out the July 31st, 2015 CBC News article, "Federal election 2015: 5 things that change when the campaign (really) starts." Photo c/o Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press.|
With that in mind, here is a short listing of some of the space and aerospace related Federal funding announcements over the last few days:
Several of the announcements have focused on the Canadian arctic, an area of particular interest to the Federal conservatives.
|Aerial view of the ISSF. Photo c/o NRCan.|
An example, as outlined in the July 31st, 2015 CBC News post, "Canada announces first satellite antenna in Inuvik," is the allocation of $3.7Mln CDN to build a road to access to the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF), a series of antennas in Inuvik, NWT., built to track and receive data in real-time from polar-orbiting satellites for scientific, mapping, weather, surveillance and other purposes.
The facility is administered by the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO), a part of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and was constructed in 2010 by the Government of Canada (GoC) in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and PrioraNet Canada (PNC), now a subsidiary of the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC).
Other announcements, such as the one profiled in the July 29th, 2015 Air Force Technology article, "Canada announces new measures to improve SAR capabilties," which discussed a $249Mln CDN investment in a satellite system to enhance detection of activated emergency beacons, were targeted at bolstering Canadian military capabilities and winning favor from Canadian soldiers. The July 24th, 2015 Kelowna News article, "Best defence, good offence," which describes a series of Federal grants for "expanding the presence of Canadian defence companies internationally," is a second example of this strategy.
But other announcements focused on new manufacturing technologies and allocated funds to specific ridings.
MP Ambler. Photo c/o gc.ca.
As outlined in the July 31st, 2015 Federal government press release, "Minister Holder and MP Ambler Announce New Research Facility to Boost Canadian Advanced Manufacturing," the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has allocated $25Mln to build an Advanced Materials Manufacturing Centre in Mississauga, ON., in collaboration with Xerox Corporation.
The announcement was made by Federal Minister of State Ed Holder and Stella Ambler, the Federal member of parliament (MP) for Mississauga South, where the facility is expected to be located.
The Feds also kicked in some money to support the angel investor community, or at least to see if they could find a few new people to bolster the existing club.
MP Saxton. Photo c/o gc.ca.
As outlined in the July 30th, 2015 Federal government press release, "Government of Canada Investment to Support Growth of Angel Investor Community in Western Canada," $1.5Mln CDN from the Western Diversification Program has been allocated to the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), in order to implement a "three year initiative aimed at growing the angel investor community in Western Canada."
The announcement was made by North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton, on behalf of Michelle Rempel, the Federal minister of state for western economic diversification.
And coincidentally, the very next day, at least as outlined in the July 31st, press release "Government of Canada Supports North Vancouver Museum and Archives," Saxton found an additional $2.2Mln of Federal government funding to support the relocation of the North Vancouver Museum to a larger facility within his riding.
|The very capable MP Aspin. Photo c/o BayToday.ca.|
There are certainly more funding announcements which have slipped through the fingers of the various news organizations and are helping to bolster the chances of incumbent conservative MP's.
And some politicians, like Jay Aspin, the ambitious MP for of Nipissing-Timiskaming, (who acts as vice-chair of the parliamentary aerospace caucus and chair of the space caucus), even seem to feel comfortable enough with their Federal gifts to incorporate them into their campaign platforms.
As outlined in the August 3rd, 2015 Northbay Nugget article, "Marathon of an election," Aspin claims to be "proud" of the $173Mln CDN "that has been brought into his riding since he took office from the Liberals in the last federal election."
Back in the 1946, famed theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, when asked “Dr. Einstein, why is it that when the mind of man has stretched so far as to discover the structure of the atom we have been unable to devise the political means to keep the atom from destroying us?” responded with this useful quip;
That is simple, my friend. It is because politics is more difficult than physics.