Nfld. & Labrador·Updated

Ignatieff confirms Lower Churchill support

Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff reaffirmed in Halifax Monday that his party supports a federal loan guarantee for the proposed Lower Churchill hydoelectric project.

Liberal leader suggests second Lower Churchill site should also be developed

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaking in Halifax on April 3. (CBC)

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff reaffirmed Monday that his party supports a federal loan guarantee for the proposed Lower Churchill hydoelectric project.

At a campaign stop in Halifax, Ignatieff told reporters he's backed the project before in earlier conversations with former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams and the current premier, Kathy Dunderdale.

The Liberals promised support for the project during the 2008 federal election campaign.

Ignatieff said Monday he is going one step beyond promising a loan guarantee to develop a hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls on the Churchill River.

Ignatieff said he as prime minister would play a role in brokering an agreement that would end the impasse between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador over transmission rights, in order to prompt development at Gull Island, the second and much larger part of the long-proposed Lower Churchill development. 

"This is good for Canada and a federal government needs to work with the other provinces — don't exclude Ontario from this, Ontario will need that green power," said Ignatieff.

"How as a country do we think big about this? Mr. Harper has thought small about this for five years. He hasn't thought about green energy at all. I want to come into Newfoundland and Labrador with a positive message which basically says: How can we get this done for Canada?"

Last week, federal Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised a federal loan guarantee for the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project if elected.

Sunday the Liberal Party released its election platform in Ottawa.

In a news release afterwards, the Conservatives said a commitment to help the Lower Churchill project was missing.

Ignatieff will be campaigning in St. John's Monday evening.

He's expected to campaign with St. John's South-Mount Pearl candidate Siobhan Coady.

Ignatieff is scheduled to speak at a public rally, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the GEO Centre.