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Cablegate: Ambassador's Visit to Nova Scotia: Security, Economy,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HALIFAX 000352

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ETRD EFIS ECON EPET MOPS SENV ASEC CA
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO NOVA SCOTIA: SECURITY, ECONOMY,
ENVIRONMENT FILL THE AGENDA

REF: HALIFAX 349


1. SUMMARY: Ambassador's visit to Nova Scotia October 9 - 14
was useful in reinforcing a traditionally good relationship
between the province and the U.S., as well as dispelling
misperceptions about U.S. energy, environmental and foreign
policy. Primary topics of discussion were security, economic
and environmental issues. END SUMMARY.

2. Ambassador and Mrs. Cellucci visited Nova Scotia October 9 -
14. The trip took them from Halifax to Cape Breton, and
provided the opportunity to raise security, trade and
environmental issues with a wide range of interlocutors.

HALIFAX
-------

3. CANADIAN NAVY -- Vice-Admiral Glenn Davidson, commander of
Canada's Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) briefed the
Ambassador on MARLANT's role and force structure, stressing the
Canadian Navy's close association with the U.S. Navy and its
desire to continue to assist in the war against terrorism and to
provide unique capabilities such as diesel-electric submarines
for joint exercises. Ambassador said that he would continue to
call for the defense spending necessary for maximum
interoperability among U.S. and Canadian forces. He toured the
Command's operations center, as well as the joint Navy/Coast
Guard/Air Force search and rescue operations center which
handles over 2,000 distress calls annually. Ambassador also had
the opportunity to watch a number of defensive drills on the
frigate HMCS TORONTO during a tour of the vessel by its captain.

4. PREMIER HAMM -- Nova Scotia's Premier John Hamm briefed the
Ambassador on damage caused by Hurricane Juan, noting with
appreciation that the governor of Maine had called to offer any
help necessary. Hamm said that he hoped the Prime Minister
would agree to provide additional funding for disaster relief.
He asked what could be done at a regional level to improve U.S.
- Canadian relations. The Ambassador stressed the need to take
security issues seriously, citing the positive example of the
Port of Halifax (reftel). On energy issues, Premier Hamm said
he had heard that EnCana was having "some success" in
exploratory drilling, and that he hoped this would help the Deep
Panuke project go forward. He also said that he would join
other premiers on a Team Atlantic trade mission to Washington
November 2 - 6.

5. ENERGY CONFERENCE SPEECH -- The Ambassador delivered the
keynote speech at the Onshore/Offshore Technologies Association
of Nova Scotia (OTANS) energy conference. His remarks focused
on U.S. energy and environmental policies, stressing the need to
correct misperceptions about both.

6. STUDENT Q&A -- Dalhousie University students turned out in
large numbers to hear the Ambassador speak and answer questions
about U.S. policy. The students were respectful but critical in
their questioning and the Ambassador was able to address
effectively issues such as U.S.-Canada differences on Iraq
policy, the Arar case, and the gap in perception of security
threats between the U.S. and some in Canada.

7. HALIFAX AIRPORT -- Halifax International Airport Authority
President Reg Milley and Chairman Bernie Miller hosted a dinner
for the Ambassador. Preclearance for Halifax was of course on
the menu, and Milley described HIAA's efforts to address
concerns posed by Bangor, Maine, and its lobbyist in Washington,
including indemnifying Bangor for lost business and renouncing
any intention of seeking in-transit preclearance for Halifax.
According to Milley, Bangor was beginning to accept HIAA's
argument that preclearance could actually be beneficial to
Bangor because of increased regional traffic.

CAPE BRETON
-----------

8. Many of the Ambassador's interlocutors in Cape Breton
stressed the efforts being made to recover from the economically
disastrous loss of the coal and steel industries, as well as the
collapse of groundfish stocks. Preservation -- of language,
culture and the environment -- was also a recurrent theme.

9. ISLE MADAME -- On Isle Madame the Ambassador met with a
number of local businesspeople, educators and community
activists to get a sense of how this primarily French-speaking
area was faring in the face of economic changes. The picture
that emerged -- in meetings with a cranberry producer, a boat
builder, seafood processors, the director of the local branch of
the College de l'Acadie, and others -- was one of resilience in
the face of the loss of traditional livelihoods.

10. Fishermen and onshore processors have switched from cod to
crab, and while overall employment in the fishery is down, the
value of the catch is greater now than the early 1990s. Native
fishermen have become significant players in the industry in the
wake of the Supreme Court's Marshall decision, and they are now
buying boats and other equipment from local manufacturers. One
such boat builder, Daryl David of Samson Enterprises in Arichat,
told us that his firm had entered into a partnership with a
local community to use land and a wharf formerly occupied by a
fish processor that had closed its doors after the collapse of
the fishery. The new Samson facility allows the firm to build
larger multispecies vessels and local Mi'kmaq fishermen are
among the major customers for Samson's boats. Several
interlocutors told us that the longstanding integration of the
Francophone, Anglophone and native communities meant that there
had been less friction over the fishery than in New Brunswick.


11. CULTURAL PRESERVATION -- Both the Acadian and Scottish
communities were seeking to preserve culture and traditions,
with notable success. French language education and culture
were maintained at institutions like the Centre La Picasse in
Petit-de-Grat where the Ambassador attended a performance
featuring local musicians and dancers. Gaelic is still spoken
in some sections of Cape Breton, and organizations like the
Highland Village and the recently established Gaelic College
seek to preserve that tradition.

12. BRAS D'OR LAKES ECOLOGY -- Ambassador received an extensive
briefing from a local marine biologist on the unique ecology of
the world's largest inland sea, the Bras d'Or Lakes. Local
residents described plans to seek a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
designation for a portion of the lakes known as the St. Andrew's
Channel and to build and endow a marine research center on the
lakes. They also expressed concerns about seismic exploration
going on in the region, noting that energy exploration or
production in the lakes themselves could damage a fragile
ecosystem.

13. Both Francophone and Anglophone communities saw education
as key to moving the island's economy in new directions now that
traditional sources of jobs had disappeared. The College de
l'Acadie and the University College of Cape Breton both offer
innovative programs and distance education to provide Cape
Bretoners with skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the
modern economy.

COMMENT
-------

14. The visit was useful in multiple respects, including
dispelling misperceptions about USG energy, environmental and
foreign policy in well-attended public fora. The trip has
generated favorable comments from Nova Scotians, particularly
among the Acadian community, and has helped to reaffirm strong
U.S.-Canadian ties in a region where people tend to view the
U.S. positively.

HILL

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