By Ethan Blumberg
I have always asked myself why the Canadian and American governments annually spend enormous amounts of money on their respective space programs and different international space initiatives. The scale of the spending has led to a constant debate in both Canada and the United States for many years. While I do understand the global importance of space exploration, I believe that the two nations that are at the forefront of the field are allocating funds at a senseless rate. It seems to me that the negligent spending of both Canada and the United States is taking away funds from serious issues the two Countries face back on earth.
Growing up in Canada I have gained a good grasp of the adversity our continent faces and at the same time, I realize the magnitude of resources needed to combat issues such as unemployment, education and poverty. The transparency of how much is being spent by Both NASA and the Canadian Space Agency allows for me as an average citizen to see the immense capital needed to fuel the two organizations that are so synonymous with space exploration. The financial numbers that are constantly being exhibited by the two groups are extremely large, but rarely indicate or just what exactly will come out of the funding. An example of this neglectful spending is that the Canadian government set aside $379 million in the 2016 federal budget just to preserve our countries partnership with the International Space Station. Canada went ahead with the investment knowing there may not be a great return on the massive deal that was reached. Professionals, alongside elected officials, decided that this was the best use of all that money, while around 4 million Canadians still live with food insecurity. This statistic includes the over 1 million children in Canada who live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Knowing this how am I supposed to be able to come to terms with the fact that Canada is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance space exploration, at the same time that many of my fellow Canadians are facing detrimental obstacles in their day to day life.
There are similar issues with the much larger scale and more dynamic National Aeronautics and Space Administration South of the border. NASA is a storied part of the American government, with a long history of success. However, that is not so much the case anymore. Not being able to achieve the same level of technological breakthroughs has led me to believe that the inefficiency of the United States space exploration program should result in even more cuts than have previously occurred to this date. NASA’s yearly budget is still close to 20 billion dollars. The portion of the federal budget that NASA receives is about an astonishing 40% of what the U.S. federal government spends on education each year. The public education system is often criticized for reasons such as overcrowding within American public schools. These numbers are just another illustration of the unconscionable mismanagement of federal funds that are going towards the countries space program rather than to assisting those in need.
Finally, I think it is important to state that I don’t want to discredit any of the programs I spoke upon, because I am well aware of the importance of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and space exploration as a whole. I just believe that both Canada and the United States should take a step back and re-evaluate how they are funding their own space programs. In order to ensure the government doesn’t make negligent spending decisions that could instead be going towards more egalitarian causes.
Ethan is a grade 11 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.
Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyEzsAy4qeU