Halifax, NS. Sept.10, 2015… Local Aboriginal organizations presented to the major industry players in the defense and aerospace sector at the Defense Industry conference in Halifax (Sept.8-10) at the Cunard Centre. The conference and trade show is called DEFSEC Atlantic and is a major networking opportunity for the Aerospace, Defense and Security Industries – the second largest of its kind in Canada.

Focused on showcasing Atlantic Canadian opportunities, the show’s worldwide reach creates partnership potential for all attendees. The Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) from Membertou and the New Brunswick Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) make a presentation on Thursday morning. The message they brought was, “We can help Industry Succeed!” They laid out a proven process for large industry to successfully engage Aboriginals. Representatives from Ulnooweg Development and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI also attending the presentation.

More than a thousand delegates attended the conference, with more than 300 national and international companies represented. These companies came from a dozen different countries and included major players such as GE, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney. Representatives of all levels of government also attended the event.

Todays major opportunity is Irving Shipbuilding’s contract to build Canada’s combat fleet under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, with work that is expected to span 30 years. MEBO and JEDI have a strong working relationship with Irving Shipbuilding. The parties continue to work together to find ways to provide meaningful aboriginal engagement in shipbuilding.

Irving Shipbuilding introduced the MEBO and JEDI at the conference. Irving Shipbuilding has found their partnership with MEBO and JEDI to be important and productive and by making this introducing at the conference, they hoped to emphasize to the many contractors at the conference, that this should also be important to them. The presentation presented a proven path to the successful engagement of local Aboriginals, one that is positive for both industry and for local Aboriginals.

Alex Paul and Owen Fitzgerald presented for the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) and Mark Taylor and Brian Harn presented for the sister organization in New Brunswick, the Joint Economic Development initiative (JEDI).