For your information: Premier Dexter’s remarks to the arms dealers

The Merchants of Death – lithograph by Mabel Dwight

By TONY SEED

THE DEXTER NDP was brought to power on June 9, 2009 promising “a better deal for Nova Scotia families.” We didn’t have long to wait to see which “families” he had in mind nor the “better deal.”

On July 1st, Mr Dexter attended the opening of the new offices of Lockheed Martin. Now, precisely three months following the election to the day, the new premier is appearing before the military-industrial complex gathered at the DEFSEC Atlantic arms show in Halifax with declarations thataerospace and defense industry in Nova Scotia is helping to build a more prosperous economy in this province” and promising that “This government is committed to supporting the aerospace and defense industry in Nova Scotia…” He lists the U.S. arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and General Dynamics – as “partners” and decisive for his fictitious “prosperous economy.” As always, “a better deal for” the Irving family, which is looking to make the big score from the militarization of shipbuilding, lurks in the background.

Mr Dexter’s obeisance to the forces of war and empire does not represent a volte-face, even though the NDP base is upset and haunted about the seeming turn-around.

Before the election, we analyzed that “a Dexter government will be poised to negate the rights of various sectors of the population of Nova Scotia, as well as around the world, while it will use the state political and judicial power to defend monopoly right, fight for ‘their monopolies’ in the international marketplace under the banner of ‘making Nova Scotia competitive on world markets,’ and facilitate the all-round militarization of the economy and ports.”

At a time of deepening economic crisis, the Nova Scotian government immediately began to abdicate its duty to provide for the immediate needs of the working class and people for social programs to sustain them, the economy and the society. Mr Dexter openly advocates arms production and war as the solution to the objective economic, social and political problems facing the people of Nova Scotia. It is unacceptable and must be condemned.

Tamara Lorincz, who sent me the text of this speech, notes:

“The federal government gave Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and producer of nuclear weapons, cluster bombs and hellfire and PAC missles, $2 billion dollars (our tax dollars) to upgrade the combat systems on the frigates in Nova Scotia, and then the provincial NS government gave Lockheed $1.8 million dollars for a payroll rebate on those jobs. We could have hired nurses, child care staff, teachers and energy auditors instead. Please tell the federal and provincial governments that you do not want your tax dollars to go to weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin.”

* * *

Speaking Remarks, Honourable Darrell Dexter, DEFSEC Atlantic

September 9, 2009 7:00 p.m. Cunard Centre, Halifax, NS

Check against delivery (Audience 200 plus)

Good evening [Business New Brunswick] Minister Boudreau, dignitaries, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. A special welcome to the many partners who have traveled to Nova Scotia for this important trade exhibition, especially to our partners from Atlantic Canada. We are pleased to be your host for DEFSEC Atlantic, the largest exhibition of its kind in Eastern Canada.

I understand that this is one of the most unique events of its kind in the country. I am honoured to both represent the government of the Province of Nova Scotia and to speak on behalf of this region and industry. With companies represented here from Canada and around the world, it is an excellent forum for collaboration among industry and government stakeholders.

We believe that partnership and collaboration is key in growing this sector not only for Nova Scotia, but also for our Atlantic neighbors. Over the last seven years, Nova Scotia’s aerospace and defence industry has grown by an astounding 183 per cent. In 2008, aerospace and aerospace parts manufacturing accounted for more GDP than fishing, forestry, agriculture and tourism combined, in our province.

Here in Nova Scotia, the industry generates in excess of $600 million in revenues each year. When combined with defence spending, the industry contributes $1.5 billion to the provincial economy each year. The aerospace and defense industry in Nova Scotia is helping to build a more prosperous economy in this province. With 80 per cent of annual aerospace sales destined for export, the industry is poised to capitalize on future growth opportunities.

This government is committed to supporting the aerospace and defense industry in Nova Scotia because we recognize the opportunities that these industries play in supporting our economy. For instance, in July, I was in attendance when Lockheed Martin Canada opened its new home in Nova Scotia. The company plans to create up to 100 great career opportunities for our young and talented workforce as well as our seasoned professionals.

These jobs offer excellent wages and working conditions that will help to keep our skilled and experienced workers employed at home. Nova Scotia is fortunate to have the Aerospace and Defence Industry Association of Nova Scotia to support the advancement of the sector and the Human Resources Partnership to work with employers to meet skills and labour needs.

As a province, we have the highest concentration of Canadian Forces personnel in Canada. I know from my experience in the Navy how important the armed forces are to the history of this province and our economy. (insert story from your time in the Navy if you like). Investment in Nova Scotia by companies like Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, General Dynamics, Pratt & Whitney and others in Atlantic Canada, helps business in the industry flourish.

Given the strength of this industry and strong partnerships, I am confident that we will continue to see growth and economic spin offs from this promising industry – which translates into more opportunity for all of us. Thank you for the opportunity to speak and I wish you much success during this exhibition. I hope you find it both productive and successful. Thank you -END-

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Filed under No Harbour for War, Nova Scotia Government

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