Less than two weeks after the official launch of the Aerospace Review on February 27th, Executive Director Scott Streiner, at the invitation of the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA), travelled from Ottawa to Toronto yesterday for an informal meeting with members and guests at their bimonthly meeting.
The meeting, announced earlier this week, attracted 25 people which filled one of the conference rooms at the law offices of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Blake’s has been a supporter of the CSCA for over a year offering the association its facilities for meetings and offering legals services including intellectual property advice to space sector companies.
Many of those who showed up work for small space companies and the Review and its outcome are very important to them as was expressed at the meeting.
Streiner was there to basically to bring everyone up to speed on how the Review is structured, what comes next, how they can participate and what some of the guidelines are.
After an initial 25 minutes introduction by Streiner on the Review the floor was opened up for questions. And the questions kept coming. In fact there were was over an hour and half of Q&A that kept everyone engaged and interested.
Streiner did a good job of answering questions and it was obvious that he came well prepared including listening and picking up on what people were suggesting. He took a copious amount of notes.
Aerospace Review Scott Streiner participating in Q&A at the Canadian Space Commerce Association meeting. Credit: SpaceRef
Streiner stressed that Review is open to hearing from everyone. There are six working groups, regional roundtables, online submission instructions, informal meetings like this one and meetings can be setup through the Review secretariat if needed.
The fact finding and collection of information will run through July, perhaps into August. Then the Review will turn to analyzing and writing the report which will be presented to the government in mid-December on or around the 14th. According to Streiner the report will then be released to the public, perhaps “within hours” of the government receiving it.
One new piece of information offered by Streiner last night was that a companion piece will be released to go along with the already released Discussion Paper.
The Review will also take into account the recently released Review of Federal Support to Research and Development, more commonly known as the Jenkins report.
Also as part of the collection of information the Review will be referencing past reports written in Canada and elsewhere. This will include reports such as the famous Chapman Report and previous Long Term Space Plans.
One interesting note from last night was a comment Streiner made on the industry time frame to consider for submissions to the review. Streiner said the review wanted to look at what the industry would look like 15-20 years from now or even longer. For many of the people here that was a problem. Small businesses, and in particular those in the space sector as opposed to the aero sector, can’t predict with any degree of certainty where the industry will be within that time frame. They need to look at shorter time frames, 5-10 years being more appropriate. This was a theme that was made clear to Streiner though he did encourage people to think longer term.
If anyone was expecting the Review to recommend a large increase in spending Streiner had a clear message on that point. It’s not going to happen. The report will be fiscally neutral. If areas are identified that warrant more funding then the money will have to be taken from another program.
Streiner also made it clear that this is an independent report. Once submitted to the government it will be up to the government to implement any recommendations should they chose to.
Based on what I heard last night from Streiner and the discussion within the room the review is off to a good start.
The Canadian Space Commerce Association will be holding its annual meeting in Ottawa on March 28th where many of the issues raised at the meeting will be discussed. The theme this year, which not surprisingly coincides with many of the themes of the Aerospace Review, is Our Critical Canadian Space Infrastructure.
It should be note that SpaceRef Canada is the media sponsor of this event and will be there covering it.
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