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Graham Steele said he was confident the Conservatives would honour their promise. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia's finance minister said he isn't concerned that a federal loan guarantee for a massive hydroelectric project in Labrador wasn't mentioned in Monday's federal budget.

Graham Steele said the federal Conservatives made a verbal commitment to the project during the recent election campaign and he has every reason to believe they will follow through on it.

"It is not a cash item in the current fiscal year and we would not have expected it to be included in the budget," he said. 

"It's a good project and we're very pleased to have their support and we have every reason to believe they will follow through on that in due course."

$6.2 billion project

A year ago, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia made a joint request to Ottawa for a loan guarantee for the $6.2-billion project that would transmit power from Muskrat Falls between the two provinces.

A senior government source told The Canadian Press last week that federal commitment for the project wouldn't be in the budget.

However, the source said the government's promise would be kept. 

The budget tabled Monday largely mirrors one delivered barely two months ago before the election.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty reiterated that federal programs will have to be cut in order to eliminate the deficit by 2014-15.

Steele said Nova Scotia understands the importance of balancing the books but added it's important that Ottawa listens to Canadians about "the best ways of the many different ways back to balance."

"We certainly hope that they'll hear Nova Scotia and hear what works best for Nova Scotia in our unique circumstances," he said.