Ignatieff mocks Harper's Lower Churchill promise

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff uses a campaign rally in St. John's to question the sincerity of Stephen Harper's support for the Lower Churchill hydro project.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff speaking in St. John's April 4. (CBC)

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff used a rally in St. John's on Monday night to question the sincerity of Stephen Harper's support for the Lower Churchill hydro project.

Ignatieff said people should remember how Harper treated Newfoundland and Labrador over the Atlantic Accord. It led former premier Danny Williams to mount the "Anything But Conservative" campaign during the 2008 election.

In St. John's last week, Harper said his Conservatives support the idea of a loan guarantee from the federal government to help Atlantic Canada develop the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

Ignatieff said Harper is a latecomer to green energy projects.

"The question is, 'Can you trust Stephen Harper?' and the answer is: 'Just ask Danny Williams. Just ask Danny. Just ask Danny,'" Ignatieff said to cheers from a partisan crowd at the GEO centre.

Ignatieff said the Liberal Party wants to see both stages of the Lower Churchill project completed to provide clean power.

He said a Liberal government would also support a loan guarantee if it made economic sense and went a step further, suggesting the federal government and Atlantic provinces should explore how they could work together to develop an even larger hydroelectric project on Labrador's Churchill River.

The current proposal on the table seeks to develop a hydroelectric generation facility at Muskrat Falls. Another section of the river, near Gull Island, is believed to have three times the potential for power generation.

Ignatieff is to make two stops west of St. John's in the Conception Bay South area on Tuesday before heading to Quebec.