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Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter discusses the Shipbuilding Contract

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter discusses the Shipbuilding Contract

By Sean Mitton

In conversation with Nova Scotia Premier Darrel Dexter regarding the recent awarding of the Irving Shipbuilding contract at the SEUS-CP Conference.

"The contest for that contract went on for a year and a half to 2 years while we were putting together the bid with Irving. Various provinces with various shipyards were bidding. There were actually 3 contacts that were in play. One, the combat contract which was $25 billion (over 25 years), secondly,  a smaller one which was $7 billion; and the third was a repair contract that was a little less than that. All of them were significant in their own way, but of course everyone wanted to win the big one. We worked with Irving to put in place the infrastructure. There was talk today about skilled workforce. We integrated our community college system directly into the bid to ramp up for skilled workers. We literally left no stone unturned in terms of giving every competitive advantage possible to Irving and making sure they were in the best position to win and fortunately, they did.

Now that we've won, we're a small province of under a million people; we don't have the same size yards as others in North America. Ultimately, we will want to find partners to do some of that work. Some of them will be in the supply chain, some will become partners with Nova Scotia firms and they will import and resell or improve or sell into the supply chain. So there are a lot of opportunities in a contract that large for good partnerships.

I met this morning with some of the folks in Mississippi, who are very much in the related shipbuilding industries and those discussions will continue to go on. Most people don't realize we have 60% of all the armed forces assets of Canada in Nova Scotia. Even though there are shipbuilding assets, there are telecommunication systems, there are combat systems, there are a lot of highly technical products that are needed to go along with the building of ships, but we also have in our Province people who are making, for example, systems for ground based requirements. So, they too are out there in the aerospace defence community looking for partners. If you make the weapon system, what are you going to put it on? That's where partnerships grow. That's a very significant part of our economy."