Monday, July 15, 2013

Congratulations to the New Industry Minister

James Moore, the new Minister of Industry under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

James Moore, the conservative MP for Port Moody/ Westwood/ Port Coquitlam has replaced Christian Paradis as the Federal government Minister of Industry. The announcement was made Monday morning as part of a long expected cabinet reshuffle.

Among his many other new responsibilities (which include economic development, corporate affairs and telecom policy), Moore will be the minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Christian Paradis, the new Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie

He will also be the public face of the official government response to the Federal Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies (the "Emerson Report"), which was originally presented to then Industry Minister Christian Paradis in November 2012 as part of a two volume independent review of the "aerospace and space industry" which assessed both the CSA and the much larger commercial aerospace industry.

The 140 companies and organizations listed in the Canadian Space Directory generated $3.483 billion CDN in revenue and employed 7500 Canadians in 2011 according to the 2011 State of the Canadian Space Sector Report.

As outlined in the December 12th, 2012 blog post "What the Space Volume of the Aerospace Review Actually Says," the report recommended "narrowing" the CSA mandate to the point where it would no longer be a "policy-making body" or be "directly involved in designing and manufacturing space assets purchased by the government."
Incoming CSA president Walter Natynczyk.

According to the report, the CSA should instead advise and support the Industry Minister (then Paradis and now Moore), act " as a technical supervisor" to project specific committees and to the Minister of Public Works (to help negotiate "co-operative agreements with other countries space agencies") and co-manage (along with the National Research Council) anticipated new space technology development.
Acting CSA president Gilles Leclerc.

Under these recommendations, the CSA would continue to conduct its own research, operate its existing satellite inventory and maintain the Canadian astronaut program. 

In conjunction with the reduced role and new oversight, the report also recommended the stabilization of the overall CSA funding at existing levels, plus recommended the expansion of funding for programs which support the development of space technologies for the enhancement of industrial capabilities, such as the Space Technologies Development Program (STDP), by an additional $10M per year over each of the next three years.

To be fair, the appointment of the new minister, along with the appointment last month of a new CSA president (retired general Walter Natynczyk, who is is expected to take over from acting CSA president Gilles Leclerc in August) doesn't necessarily mean either the adaption of a new or the continuation of an existing policy.

What it does mean likely won't be discovered for a few months yet. Stay tuned.

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