Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aerospace (and Space) Policy Review Head Announced

David Emerson.
It's finally underway.

The long-awaited review of the Canadian "aerospace and space" sectors now has an announced head and an official timeline. It is expected to be tabled with the Federal government before the end of the year, according to the February 27th, 2012 Montreal Gazette article "Aerospace Policy comes under review."

The review will be headed by David Lee Emerson, the once controversial former Federal MP for Vancouver/ Kingsway who was was first elected as a Liberal in 2004 and served in the Paul Martin government as the Minister of Industry, but who then "crossed the floor" in 2006 to become the new Minister of International Trade in the Conservative Stephen Harper government.

Tom Jenkins.
As discussed in my May 30th, 2011 post "Political "Reviews" Moving to the Forefront" the current review owes its genesis to a line item in the 2011 federal budget announcing a "review of aerospace policies and programs." A second review (the Jenkins panel, covered elsewhere in this blog and focused on the commercialization of Canadian research and development activities) was released in November 2011 to generally positive reviews.

A third review (a military review of the 2008 Canada First Defense Strategy) seems to be still ongoing, although items relating to the procurement of F-35's and other military hardware, plus potential economic growth, job creation and international market access expected to be derived from these upcoming military purchases, will likely be addressed as part of the aerospace review.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis announcing the aerospace and space review on February 27th. The full text of the ministers speech is available here.
According to the February 27th, 2012 press release from the Industry Canada website titled "Harper Government Ensuring Canadian Aerospace Industry Soars" the review will:
... explore how government, industry and other key stakeholders can address the key issues facing the aerospace and space sectors, such as innovation, market access and development, skills development, procurement, and supplier development. The review is aligned with the government's plan to create jobs and promote economic growth across the country.
AIAC President Jim Quick.
According to the press release and accompanying documentation, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) will play a "key role" in the review.

The February 27th, 2012 Spaceref.ca article "Space Sector Gains Visibility as the Government Releases Details of the Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies" provides a useful overview of the composition of the panel which includes Sandra Pupatello, the director of business development and global markets for PricewaterhouseCoopers; Jim Quick the President and CEO of the AIAC and Jacques Roy, the Director of the Department of Logistics and Operations Management at HEC Montreal.

But the Spaceref article also implies that the panel mandate and even the revised panel name (it was initially an "aerospace" review but is now an "aerospace and space" review) suggests that the space sector could receive "increased visibility" and perhaps even special attention over the next few months.

This seems a little optimistic so far and only time will tell if it's is a fair assessment of the situation.

However, a promising sign is the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) 2012 National Conference on March 28th in Ottawa, Ontario where the AIAC (certainly a strong advocate of the review, as can be seen from their February 27th, 2012 press release "AIAC supports the nomination of David L. Emerson as head of the aerospace policies and programs review") has committed to sending a representative to provide and overview of the process and encourage Canadian space systems companies to contribute effectively to the review.

Stay tuned.

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