I’m all for not going to war and all, but I’m with the Premier when he says it’s “primarily a business issue which is consistent with the objectives of the Slemon Park Corporation,” when commenting about the issue of American military use of Slemon Park.
The Slemon Park website is pretty clear about its pitch:
Slemon Park is a private corporation that is dedicated to providing exceptional facilities for some of the world’s finest companies in aviation, aerospace, commercial and light industries.
And then later on the same page:
Slemon Park has an airport with hangarage that can accommodate all but a few of the world’s largest aircraft. The airport has excellent entrepreneurial potential.
Slemon Park is the perfect location to promote your training initiative.
The aerospace sector represents 20% of provincial exports; it’s a major part of the Island economy. It employs people.
One of the ways we kill people is with things that fly, and so in that 20% is presumably at least some material that will, at least indirectly, be responsible for blowing people up, making orphans, oppressing dissent, and so on.
For example: Honeywell “develops and produces cockpit display and mission management systems for the worldwide defense market.” Wiebel Aerospace “work[s] in the field of spare part distribution, and provide[s] support services to commuter, regional, military, and corporate operators.”
In other words, we’ve been supporting the war efforts of the U.S. for years — and the taxes and other benefits that have accrued to the province have paved our roads, healed our sick, educated our children.
It’s all very well and good to get all riled up about the headline issues; it’s another thing to try and build an integrated economy that sustains the people of the province. Social justice is important. We shouldn’t be living off the avails of killing machines. But social change isn’t affected by trying to micromanage institutions through the media: if you don’t like what Slemon Park is doing, run for office and get elected and have it do something else. Or join the Board of Slemon Park and guide it in a new direction. Or start an alternative business in Summerside that offers well-paying secure jobs to highly trained technicians so that they have employment alternatives. To continue with the “nightly press conference on Compass” approach serves only to make us feel all the more powerless, and takes the focus off approaches that might actually achieve the Good Aims we all seek.