01/12/2012 01:31 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Canada Shipbuilding: Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter Not Invited To Harper Shipbuilding Event

HALIFAX - Darrell Dexter says he doesn't feel snubbed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after the Nova Scotia premier wasn't invited to Thursday's shipbuilding announcement at the Halifax Shipyard.

Earlier in the day, Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay were at the yard to announce that Ottawa had an agreement-in-principle with Irving Shipbuilding to build Canada's next fleet of warships.

Dexter said it's not unusual for Harper to stage announcements without calling on the province, pointing out that B.C. Premier Christy Clark wasn't invited to a similar announcement later in the day at the Seaspan shipyard in North Vancouver.

"They hadn't even heard about the announcements," Dexter said.

"I think all of the discussion around how it came into being is all just irrelevant. I'm just pleased that we are fully underway."

The NDP premier also said he rejects MacKay's recent suggestion that the province's Ships Start Here campaign was a waste of money because the $35-billion federal procurement process was based solely on merit, not politics.

Dexter said the campaign went beyond lobbying to include conferences aimed at bringing together all elements of the industry supply chain.

"It was one of the most successful campaigns in the history of the province," he said.

He said he continues to enjoy a good relationship with the Ottawa, though he recognizes that the two levels of government are sometimes at odds.

"Over two or three years I'm sure we're going to have times when we may not be politically on the same page."

When MacKay was asked about the premier's absence, the Nova Scotia MP said: "I don't have anything to do with the invites. What I'm hear to do is to celebrate this important day with the Irving shipyard."

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