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Halifax shipyard gets financial aid for navy ships

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks to workers at the Halifax Shipyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Harper announced an agreement in principle for the yard to construct warships for the Canadian Navy.

Paul Darrow/Reuters

The Nova Scotia government is making more than $300-million available to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to help it prepare for the construction of the Royal Canadian Navy's next fleet of vessels.

The government's financial assistance package announced Friday consists of a forgivable capital loan worth up to $260-million and a repayable marine industry loan of $44-million for human resources, technological and industrial development.

Irving Shipbuilding says it will spend between $5-million and $10-million annually on capital improvements to its operations over the next 30 years. That money is over and above what the company is spending to build new infrastructure that's needed to complete the project.

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The Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard was the successful bidder for a $25-billion contract to build 21 combat vessels.

The contract is expected to maintain a steady flow of work at the shipyard over the next 20 to 30 years.

Premier Darrell Dexter described the provincial money that's being made available to Irving Shipbuilding as the largest amount of government spending ever in Nova Scotia to support job creation and economic growth.

"This is the single most important opportunity Nova Scotia has ever seen to create jobs and propel our economy into the future," he said in a statement. "This is a vital project for Nova Scotia and for Canada."

The government says the shipbuilding contract is estimated to result in $2.8-billion in additional revenue to the province over the next 19 years. The province says the project will create an additional 11,500 jobs and increase Nova Scotia's GDP by almost $900 million during peak production years.

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