Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, David and Jeremy, for that kind introduction.
I'd like to extend a special welcome to CSA President Walt Natynczyk and the rest of the Canadian Space Agency team.
And to those who have travelled long and short distances to support this announcement today including Jim Quick, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, and the representatives from key space companies in Canada.
Of course, we are proud to have Canada's current astronauts with us, David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen.
And, saving the best for last, a very warm welcome to our special guests, Canada's future leaders and future astronauts, the students of Trillium Elementary School!
Thank you all for being here today. This is an exciting occasion because we are talking about the future of our country in space.
Now, as many of you know, Canada has a long and extremely proud history of accomplishment in space. We were the third country in the world to put our own research satellite into orbit and the first to have our own communication satellite.
We are known for the Canadarm, which is Canada's most famous robotic and technological contribution to international space exploration. It served for 30 years of successful operations, and today we have one right here in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum for visitors around the world to come see.
Canadarm2 was launched in 2001 to replace the Canadarm. It assembled the International Space Station and is still active today in space moving supplies, equipment and even astronauts!
Another proud Canadian contribution is Dextre. Dextre is the hand that attaches to Canadarm2. It is the most handy space robot ever built and is responsible for keeping the International Space Station in good shape, but it also performs important intricate tasks like servicing satellites in space.
And, of course, Canada is known for the extraordinary success of astronaut Chris Hadfield's mission aboard the International Space Station last year. Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian ever to take command of the International Space Station. During his mission, over 100 scientific experiments took place on the space station, and he brought to Earth the wonders of working and living in space. His success will continue to inspire generations of future astronauts, including hopefully some of you here today.
Now, space has become central to our security and well-being.
We depend on communication satellites for everything from TV reception to the Internet. Remote sensing allows us to forecast the weather, monitor the climate, protect the environment and warn of natural disasters like floods and forest fires.
What's more, the space industry adds over $3.3 billion annually to Canada's economy and is responsible for employing more than 8,000 Canadians. And these are good and—most would agree—pretty neat jobs. The money generated by the industry and all these jobs helps strengthen the Canadian economy.
And as we approach Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, we want to continue to support a strong, competitive and innovative space industry for the long term. We want to lead internationally, building on the successes of the Canadarm, Canadarm2, Dextre and RADARSAT and on the tremendous success of Chris Hadfield.
That's why today we are officially launching Canada's Space Policy Framework.
It will guide Canada's activities in space over the coming years, as the students in this room grow up to be the astronauts, robotics engineers and satellite architects of tomorrow.
We are delivering on the priorities that Canada's space industry asked the federal government to deliver on to ensure that Canada remains on top in a fiercely competitive international market.
Our approach rests on five key principles:
- It puts Canadian interests first, ensuring that our sovereignty, security and prosperity are the heart of Canada's space activities;
- It uses space to strengthen our economy by supporting Canada's space industry to bring cutting-edge technologies to the market;
- It ensures that we are working together globally by partnering with other countries on major space projects like the International Space Station;
- It ensures that we are promoting Canadian innovation by investing in Canadian strengths, like robotics in the Canadarm2; and
- Lastly, it ensures that we are inspiring Canadians by building on our success and inspiring a future generation of Canadians interested in pursuing a career in space.
Canada's space industry asked for change, and we are delivering because we recognize the essential role that our space industry plays in keeping Canada's economy on the right track and in maintaining our position as a global leader in space.
Based on the principles of this framework, I'm pleased to announce that Canada has reaffirmed our commitment to the James Webb Space Telescope project, the next-generation space observatory and the most powerful space telescope ever.
The telescope's images will serve thousands of astronomers worldwide over the coming decades. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own solar system.
The government remains a proud partner in this ongoing international project. Canada's continued participation will benefit industry, the academic community and all Canadians.
The telescope is expected to blast into space in 2018. This is just one example of Canada's commitment to our future in space.
So that's what the government is doing—now how about what you can do?
Well, as I hope you can tell by now, our space industry is at the heart of innovation in Canada.
But we need to keep it strong and growing.
We need to keep coming up with new discoveries and cutting-edge technologies.
In short, we need smart, young people like the ones here today to make sure that Canada stays a world leader.
So my message to you today is simple: study hard. Learn everything you can. And shoot for the stars.
The first human who will walk on Mars has probably already been born.
Will it be you?
Yes, space is an industry. And yes, it is vital to the well-being of life on Earth.
But it is also an adventure—an adventure of the intellect and an adventure of discovery. I look forward to working together with all of you as we challenge the next frontier of this adventure.
And now, back to the astronauts for an exciting presentation.