The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State, Science and Technology: Find a way to keep the NRC's "Centre of the Universe" visitors centre open
  • Petitioning John R. McDougall

This petition will be delivered to:

President, National Research Council
John R. McDougall
Minister of State, Science and Technology
The Honourable Greg Rickford

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State, Science and Technology: Find a way to keep the NRC's "Centre of the Universe" visitors centre open

    1. Don Moffatt
    2. Petition by

      Don Moffatt

      Victoria, Canada

The "Centre of the Universe" visitors centre at the NRC's Dominion Astrophysical Observatory near Victoria, BC, continues a tradition of communicating science to children and the general public that stretches back to May of 1918 when the Plaskett Telescope, a National Historic site, went into action. It was announced in June of 2013 that the Centre would no longer serve the public after August of 2013 due to financial constraints. This will result in job losses for the extremely knowledgeable, gifted communicators on staff, and the loss of a facility that serves both the local community and all of Canada. The centre communicates the cutting edge research done by the National Research Council of Canada in science and engineering to all age levels, particularly through school programmes in both official languages. Many interested tourists also view the facility. It creates a sense of pride in Canadian contributions to those fields, particularly the observatory's magnificent record of achievement that is recognized around the world, and gets young people excited about careers in those fields. The undersigned respectfully request that the Honourable Greg Rickford work to find a way to keep this unique Canadian treasure open, whether it be through restoring funding or working with interested parties to find a better business model (e.g. allowing it to advertise, online sales, collaborative funding models with other levels of government).

To:
John R. McDougall, President, National Research Council
The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State, Science and Technology
Find a way to keep the NRC's "Centre of the Universe" visitors centre open

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 2,000 signatures
    2. The last day - for now

      Don Moffatt
      Petition Organizer

      Today, Saturday August 24th, is the last known day the Centre of the Universe will open. Your comments and signatures are having an impact and I urge you to spread the word. There is anger in Victoria about this penny wise, pound foolish decision and I am certain the fight will continue. I encourage you to read Stephen Hume's excellent piece, which sums up the attitude felt by many. http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Stephen+Hume+Federal+budget+cuts+close+renowned+astronomy/8826145/story.html

    3. Meeting with NRC President John McDougall

      Don Moffatt
      Petition Organizer

      Sandy Barta and I met with NRC President John McDougall today. We learned that the NRC has been trying for the last year to find an alternative to closing the facility, and has not given up. Neither have we. At the end of our 2 hour 40 minute discussion I presented him with a binder containing your signatures and your comments (the signatures and comments as of 11 a.m. on August 17th). Comments and signatures after that time will continue to be delivered by email automatically to him and to Greg Rickford, the Minister of State for Science and Technology.

    4. Reached 1,500 signatures
    5. A response from the Minister of State for Science and Technology (Part 1)

      Don Moffatt
      Petition Organizer

      I received the following today. It does not say the funding will be restored.

      "Dear Mr. Moffatt:

      Thank you for your e-mail of June 23, 2013, addressed to the Honourable Gary Goodyear, former Minister of State (Science and Technology), concerning the Centre of the Universe in Victoria. The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.

      We recognize that the Centre benefits the astronomy community and people of Victoria and the surrounding communities. In this regard, the National Research Council’s President John McDougall has been actively exploring possibilities of working with the astronomy community to facilitate a third party operation to manage the facility and provide appropriate on-going access to the site. I am hopeful that a mutually acceptable solution can be found."
      (con'td)

    6. A response from the Minister of State for Science and Technology (Part 2)

      Don Moffatt
      Petition Organizer

      The following does not say the funding will be restored:

      "I would like to assure you that the federal government understands the importance of supporting science and developing talent. Since 2006 the federal government has provided more than $9 billion in new resources to support science, technology, and innovation.

      The Government of Canada continues to promote science and technology to youth across the country. Websites such as www.science.gc.ca offer instant resources to youth and to educators. The Natural Science & Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) PromoScience program offers financial support for organizations working with young Canadians to promote an understanding of science and engineering (including mathematics and technology). Another initiative, Cafés Scientifiques, supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), promotes discussions on health issues of concern to the general public.

      Thank you again for taking the time to share your views."

    7. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Patrick Farrell NEW WESTMINSTER, CANADA
      • about 1 month ago

      Education for children and to preserve history.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rebeka Neepin VICTORIA, CANADA
      • 2 months ago

      for my kids who love astronomy and myself who homeschool them

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Derek Chambers BRIDGE LAKE, CANADA
      • 2 months ago

      Raisng the curiosity of children is the best way to encorage them to learn more about the world through education. And that benefits us all, now and in the future.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Chelsea Schmidbauer COWICHAN BAY, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      This is such a Vancouver Island treasure! An educational gem!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • michelle reinelt VICTORIA BC, CANADA
      • 4 months ago

      children are inspired by this knowlegde and demonstration of science.So am I

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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