Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not confirmed the federal government will guarantee a loan to develop a hydroelectric project on the Lower Churchill River in Labrador.


Stephen Harper stopped short of fully endorsing the Lower Churchill project during a Halifax campaign stop Thursday morning. ((CBC))

"The details still have to be worked out," said Harper speaking in Halifax Thursday morning. "There is a lot of discussion still to come, but it is obviously an important project."

Harper said the proposal to develop a hydro-electric power generating facility at Muskrat Falls, on the Churchill River, has great promise.

"This is a very important project, not just for Newfoundland and Labrador, for Nova Scotia and the entire region, " he said. "It's a big chance to shift an entire region of the country towards greener energy and away from large scale greenhouse gas emissions."

Sources told CBC News Wednesday the federal Conservatives will back the $6.2-billion Lower Churchill project, although it is not yet clear how that support will be provided or what it will entail.

Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Nova Scotia, has been seeking federal loan guarantees as well as support through an infrastructure program.

Harper is scheduled to speak in St. John's Thursday evening at a Conservative party rally with local candidates.

'Just given Quebec a slap in the face' —Gilles Duceppe

Speaking in Louiseville, Quebec, near Trois-Rivières, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe reacted to suggestions that Ottawa will back the Lower Churchill project.

"[It's] a little present for Newfoundland and Labrador that represents a direct attack against the interests of Quebec," said Duceppe.

"The Conservatives have the intention to finance a competitor of Hydro-Québec with our own money. Quebec has used its own money to finance its own hydroelectric network. We have paid for that with our own taxes. Quebec has never received a single penny for its transmissions lines. Stephen Harper has, therefore, just given Quebec a slap in the face."