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Bill Blair Announces Major Defence Investments in Halifax

Operation UNIFIER

Image: The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, speaks to the members of Operation UNIFIER’s UK Training Element in the Southeast of England during a townhall with the troops on September 17, 2023. Credit: MCpl Nicolas Alonso, CAF

BY JAY HEISLER

CDR’s Halifax Correspondent Jay Heisler was present at the Halifax International Security Forum when Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair announced major investments in Halifax’s defense infrastructure.

This includes an initial investment of $26.6 million over six years to support establishing the North American regional office for NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) in Halifax. This is to be completed by the summer of 2024.

Blair’s staffer Daniel Minden sent out a press release to all Forum participants and press room attendees. CDR spoke briefly with Minden and he referred us to this press release for quotes on the news.

That press release includes the following statement on DIANA:

“DIANA seeks to unite the best and brightest innovators across the Alliance – and provides deep tech and dual-use innovators with access to NATO resources including grant funding, acceleration services, and pathways to adapt their solutions for defence and security needs.”

This was not the only announcement about investments in Halifax in the same speech by Blair.

Blair also announced that the Canadian government is building a new training facility at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax, which Blair noted in his speech is Canada’s largest military base.

From the press release:

“The total estimated investment for this facility is $188 million, including design, demolition, construction, personnel, and market costs. The EllisDon Corporation of Halifax has been awarded a $7.85 million contract to design the new Combatant Training and Integration Center – Atlantic (CTIC-A), which will house cutting-edge training systems to train Canadian sailors for the incoming fleet of Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) warships. We expect the CTIC-A project to sustain almost 650 jobs in the Halifax region during construction. The cutting-edge simulators at the Centre will provide Canadian Armed Forces members with expertise in above-water, underwater and maritime air warfighting, so that they are ready to sail on our incoming Canadian Surface Combatant fleet. Earlier today, Minister Blair visited Irving Shipbuilding Industries, where Halifax shipbuilders will build these 15 new warships. An estimated 10,000 jobs will be created or maintained throughout the 25-year construction period of the ships.”

CDR’s Halifax correspondent can confess he was not caught by surprise by this news, as a staffer for a regional politician slyly let him know that something big that was relevant to his mandate as a journalist was coming up in Blair’s speech.

The Halifax International Security Forum brings together US politicians, foreign defence ministers and other big political advocates and celebrities every year in Halifax to discuss the defense of democracies.

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