SAVE THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE PETITION LAUNCHED

19 July 2013

NDP MPs speak out against cuts to science on Vancouver Island

VICTORIA, BC - Today, Official Opposition Science and Technology Critic Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby – Douglas) and Member of Parliament Randall Garrison (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca), launched a petition calling on the Government of Canada to restore the funding for public outreach in astronomy and astrophysics at the Centre of the Universe at Saanich’s Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.

“The Harper Conservatives have abandoned science in their rush to focus support on resource extraction industries,” said Garrison. “For many years, The Centre of the Universe has provided students, families, and amateur astronomy buffs with opportunities to explore space. This facility and its staff inspire the next generation of Vancouver Island scientists, but instead of investing in our future the Harper Conservatives once again ignores the needs and the aspirations of our region.”

“The closure of Centre of the Universe is just another example of how this Conservative Government is undermining science capacity in Canada,” added Stewart. “Labs across the country are closing down or cutting their workforce because fundamental research is no longer seen as worth the investment – and short-sighted decisions like these undermine long-term scientific progress and the necessary transition we must make towards a knowledge-based economy. New Democrats will continue to stand up for fundamental research, scientific freedoms and evidence-based policymaking.”

MPs Garrison and Stewart were joined by MLA Lana Popham (Saanich South) who stressed the negative impacts on her community. "The Centre is one of the few places on the south Island where the public can interact – and be inspired – by science in action. It is a tourist attraction, and a rare public asset that inspires our youth to pursue the sciences. The decision to let the Centre of the Universe go dark shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of engaging the public in the pursuit of science. " Popham said.

Please print and sign the petition attached to send to Randall in Ottawa. Postage is free, just address it to Randall Garrison, MP - House of Commons - Ottawa, ON - K1A 0A6