P.E.I.’s Green Party is objecting to the establishment of Portsmouth Atlantic on the Island, saying the province shouldn't be supporting any company that deals with weapons.
But a Portsmouth Atlantic spokesman says the party is misinformed, and his company does not manufacture weapons.
Last week the provincial government announced Portsmouth Atlantic, a division of Portsmouth UK, would be setting up shop in Charlottetown with some financial help from government.
The Green Party responded with a news release saying the province should not be supporting a “U.K. arms manufacturing company."
'We're certainly not doing anything different here.' - Allen Dillon, Portsmouth Atlantic
“Islanders are gentle people and I think that we have a history here on the Island of not welcoming industries that we feel are harmful,” said Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.
“I am hopeful that Islanders will be motivated and mobilized by this and that we will rise up.”
But Portsmouth Atlantic COO Allen Dillon objects to Bevan-Baker’s characterization of Portsmouth, saying his company’s involvement in the defence industry is no different from many companies already operating on the Island.
“We do not handle explosives and build warheads or those types of things,” said Dillon.
“We certainly work in the defence industry in multiple ways in some of the components that would make up a small portion of a ship, but the same is true for many of the industry and aviation and aerospace within Slemon Park, and that's been the way of the past 20 or 30 years on P.E.I. So we're certainly not doing anything different here.”
Dillon said, for example, his firm's parent company makes practice bombs that don't contain any warheads, but are dropped from planes for test purposes.
The plan for the firm on P.E.I. is to make products that protect soldiers from biological and chemical weapons. It expects to create 35 jobs over the next three years.