Canadian Opposition Asks: Où est le boeuf?

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Following the release of the Canadian government’s framework for space, the  opposition party New Democratic Party (NDP) has issued a press release attacking the ruling Conservative Party’s approach to the industry.

After nearly running the Canadian Space Agency into the ground with short-sighted budget cuts and sheer incompetence, the Conservatives are now trying to convince Canadians that they’re its biggest champions.

“Conservatives are compromising middle-class jobs in this innovative sector,” said NDP Industry critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain). “Thanks to Conservative ineptitude, important projects like the Radarsat Constellation Mission are late, over budget and jobs have been lost.”

The NDP was hardly alone in criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. Former Canadian astronaut turned Liberal Party MP Marc Garneau said it remained to be seen whether the government would follow through on the plan.

Garneau called it a good framework, but said he’ll wait and see whether “the grand words … are actually going to turn into something positive for Canada’s space program.”

“This is a winner for Canada,” said Garneau, a former president of the Canadian Space Agency. “We just have to execute it, but that does mean more money and we’ll see if the government puts it in.

“Let’s remember last year, the government with its cost-cutting, cut the space agency’s budget by 10 per cent — that’s $30 million. We had to lay off people.”

The NDP’s press release is reproduced below.

Conservative Incompetence Crippling Space Sector
New Democratic Party Press Release

After nearly running the Canadian Space Agency into the ground with short-sighted budget cuts and sheer incompetence, the Conservatives are now trying to convince Canadians that they’re its biggest champions.

“Conservatives are compromising middle-class jobs in this innovative sector,” said NDP Industry critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain). “Thanks to Conservative ineptitude, important projects like the Radarsat Constellation Mission are late, over budget and jobs have been lost.”

Despite its small size, Canada’s space sector contributes nearly $3.5 billion to our economy and provides 8,000 well-paying jobs.

“The Conservatives have slashed the Canadian Space Agency’s budget, crippling important programs like those that help industry demonstrate that new technologies are space-ready and stimulate youth interest in space-based careers,” said NDP deputy Industry critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois – Salaberry).