Mr. Speaker, I stood in the House last May to question the Conservatives' reckless cuts to major science-based programs and projects.
These ideological cuts undermine the talent and innovation of our Canadian researchers and scientists. Because of the government's war on science, we have lost good-paying jobs in many fields, including the Canadian space industry.
We are losing a world-renowned research facility in the Experimental Lakes Area, and the government has signalled to the scientific community that its work is not only unappreciated but that it is also undermining the Conservative agenda.
Since coming to power, scientists are often barred from speaking to the media or to the general public without obtaining consent from the Prime Minister's Office. Even then, they can only go with a chaperone.
There is one particular case of the government's mismanagement I would like to highlight this evening. It is an example of government incompetence that is putting an entire industry at risk and has already cost hundreds of people jobs in the space industry. I want to make it clear that these are high-paying, high-skilled jobs that have been lost. Here I am talking about the RADARSAT Constellation mission, which would see a Canadian-made, designed and manufactured earth observatory satellite sent into space.
After funding phases A, B and C, the government has been wavering for months on the funding of phase D, the final phase that would see the satellites actually built and deployed.
The RADARSAT Constellation mission is the crown jewel of Canada's satellite program, a boon to our science and technology sector that puts us on the global map. RADARSAT has a diverse multi-mission. It will monitor icebergs on the east coast, as well as flow and ridging, potential spills and pipelines on the west coast, flooding and forest fires in central Canada, and it will help to maintain Arctic sovereignty by monitoring the Northwest Passage.
Further delays in funding would put Canadians' safety at risk and jobs on the line. Earlier this month, COM DEV, a Canadian company that is a subcontractor to the RADARSAT program, announced the loss of 31 specialized workers. This on the heels of major job losses at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates earlier this year.
All of this uncertainty is caused by the government. It is saying that it is committed and has been saying this for months, but it refuses to sign the contract or to provide the timelines necessary to complete the RADARSAT Constellation mission.
COM DEV CEO Mike Pley has said that while Canada has a world-class space program, it is at risk of slipping, and with funding running out, many more job losses are expected.
Rob Young, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity who follows COM DEV, said that Ottawa is hurting major suppliers such as COM DEV and MacDonald Dettwiler by not laying out a long-term spending plan for the space agency. This is something that the government has promised for four years. Not surprisingly, it is a promise made but not kept.
I hope that the government will end its war on science and reason, and that scientists will be able to conduct their research without fear of government persecution. I have been to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates and have seen some of the fantastic work they are doing in robotics, satellite design and other projects.
Since the first budget came out in March, we have been waiting and waiting to see the contract signed. Why has the government not done so?