Harper stalls on Lower Churchill

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Says hydro project important but more talks needed

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a campaign stop in the dockyard in Halifax today. Harper will be in St. John's later today. — Photo by The Canadian Press

ST. JOHN’S — The prime minister stopped short of announcing federal support for the $6.2-billion Lower Churchill power project today as he made his first election campaign stop in Atlantic Canada.

Stephen Harper told supporters in Halifax that the benefits of developing hydroelectric power in Newfoundland and Labrador are evident and would help shift the entire region toward greener energy.

But he says more talks are needed regarding a possible federal role in the development of Muskrat Falls.

The governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia are looking for help in financing the project but Quebec has raised objections, saying any federal cash would amount to an unfair subsidy.

Discussions have focused on a federal loan guarantee to help lower borrowing costs for the project, which includes a subsea cable to Nova Scotia from Labrador.

Harper will be in St. John’s later today where he is expected to say more about possible federal involvement.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Halifax Quebec

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Recent comments

  • G Pike
    April 08, 2011 - 01:20

    Hi, Fresh from their unprecedented Contempt of Parliament citation, Harper and the Cons showed up in St. John's to dangle the carrot of support for Muskrat Falls. Dunderdale and her crew squealed with delight, hopping and jumping for the vegetable, declaring their undying love and support for him. After much swooning and kissing of shoes and regions north, they swore their allegiance to the Harper way. It all seemed a little much, given the (firmly ignored) elephant in the room. That, of course, being Harpers previous $11 billion dollar broken promise. The shabby treatment afforded Danny in all this is unforgivable. Dunderdale made herself look like a fool and in turn made Danny look like a fool for his ABC stand. For me, ABC is still on and after Dunderdale's performance I'm now thinking ABPC as well. Thank You, G Pike

  • G Pike
    April 03, 2011 - 13:49

    I almost got physically ill watching Dunderdale practically kiss Harpers shoes. What was she thinking? Was she not here when his lies cost us $11 billion? Did I actually hear her say she didn't need his promise in writing!! That she trusted him?!?! I guess we now know why Danny is so upset with her. She made herself look like a fool and in turn made Danny look like a fool for his ABC stand. Well, for me, ABC is still on!

  • Mike Fender
    Mike Fender
    March 31, 2011 - 23:33

    Harper, why even get on a plane and fly to Newfoundland when the green screen method used on the fake news shows would have saved money, the environment and time. The good people of Newfoundland would save frustration that you only show up when you need something, baring gifts that are not exactly gifts, more like an IOU for a gift. Really having not worked out the details to any of the funding deals he is proposing after being PM for 5 years why waste every body’s time? The fake news approach would be less humiliating for everyone involved, you could say it's a comedy thing and turn it over to Rick Mercer.

  • mainlander
    March 31, 2011 - 22:20

    Sorry Randy, Steve-o already answered 5 questions today, so your question will not be answered. HIs stupidity and ignornace really comes through when he is unscripted. The man is a moron and I don't know who in their right mind would vote for him. And enough with the coalition scare tactics. It is not a coup, it is not illegitimate and I would prefer that to a Harper majority!

  • willy d
    March 31, 2011 - 20:31

    Today in NL, Harper said he would give the loan guarantee or some other economic benefits. Everyone started clapping, but I'm still trying to figure out why. Doesn't sound like a sure thing to me. Why the double talk? In Quebec, he'll say something different. The best predictor of ones future behavior, is their past behavior. Need I say more.

    • Frank J. Van Veen
      April 04, 2011 - 09:29

      To the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, you now have a unique opportunity to become a national force in Ottawa. The upcoming election will be close in terms of a majority or a minority government. The Liberals have little chance of forming a majority government. If you were to send seven Conservative MPs to Ottawa, it could mean a majority Conservative government. My suggestion to you would be to demand that your seven members vote as a block. The block would appoint a senior member to act as a liaison between the block and the PMO. If the majority is six MPs or less, you would control the Federal Government and as such you will be able to ensure the funding for the Lower Churchill Falls project as well as the rest of your energy related matters. I live in Ontario which thanks to the Liberal government is now a have not Province. We need to build a strong Canada and you have shown over the past ten years how to go about it. Canada needs your leadership. Thank you. Frank J. Van Veen.

  • Mike Fender
    March 31, 2011 - 19:47

    Harper, why even get on a plane and fly to Newfoundland when the green screen method used on the fake news shows would have saved money, the environment and time. The good people of Newfoundland would save frustration that you only show up when you need something, baring gifts that are not exactly gifts, more like an IOU for a gift. Really having not worked out the details to any of the deals he is proposing after being PM for 5 years why waste every body’s time? The fake news approach would be less humiliating for everyone involved, you could say it's a comedy thing and turn it over to Rick Mercer.

  • fred
    March 31, 2011 - 19:38

    sullivan, manning, taylor, what a bunch of jokers. they all know about harpers contempt for newfoundland, but no, they all want to be a part of it, a bunch of losers;

  • Rosa
    March 31, 2011 - 18:56

    I have never been a supporter of Harper. and in my district I vote for the person, not the party, but now i'm scared. What the hell is the alternative, Iggy, god no, The Bloc, sure, if I want to drive to Ontario, I want to have to go through another country, if those in Quebec that wish to seperate from Canada get their wish. Jack Layton ,I Iike, but what are the chances the NDP could form a government . God help Canada.

  • audrey Whalen-Way
    March 31, 2011 - 16:46

    Why do Harper talk to the people as if they are stupid ?? We know that the Liberal Party " can" win an election and form the Gov. because they have done it in the past.......however , Harper only refers to any gov. but his as a " coalilion " . I hope that kind of spin does not work....people has got to be smarter than that !

  • nasty nate
    March 31, 2011 - 16:19

    Just goes to show you that Harper knows best. The Government has been dissolved you silly Dumberdale. What make you think that any government when held in contempt will offer anything to anyone? Kathy was duped by a TKO and took one for the team. The lower Churchill will not be bank rolled on the backs of Canadian Tax Payers nor those in Labrador who's resources Newfoundland is attempting to expropriate. Check - Mate

  • Ches fromthebay
    March 31, 2011 - 16:17

    Well Well Well. Mr Harper never ceases to amaze me! Every anouncment so far has been crap when you drill down the details and now supprise another slap in the face for Newfoundland & Labrador! I hope Manning, Sullivan, Taylor and the rest of the blue boys get what they deserve. Unemployment Insurance. Now I must decide which way my vote will go this time it will be either Liberal or NDP.Come on my fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians let send a message to these so called politicians and repeat the last federal results!

  • Gerry
    March 31, 2011 - 15:09

    Harper will /NOT announce Lower Churchill guarantee. Was Bev Oda responsible for this?

  • DON
    March 31, 2011 - 14:54

    Somebody on the Conservative campaign bus got out their calculator or in their case, the slide rule, and figured out that favoring Newfoundland over Quebec is a very bad idea. The slide rule calculation worked out to 7 seats won in Newfoundland and 70 seats lost in Quebec if Harper gives Dunderdale a multi-billion dollar loan guarantee for the Lower Churchill. After a few days of thinking it over, the Conservatives realized that 70 seats minus 70 seats equals 0 seats won in Quebec and that is not a good deal. 70 seats is better than 7 seats. Duh! Case closed!

  • The Train
    March 31, 2011 - 14:17

    Danny Where Are You Where did you get that letter...because i love it, it's spot on !!!

  • John Smith
    March 31, 2011 - 13:53

    Oinment...Labrador represents 6% of the GDP of NL, and has a population of 25,000. You are going to cut us adrift? LMAO

    • ...in your ointment
      March 31, 2011 - 15:44

      Exactly my point. Labrador doesn't need Nfld. Never has, never will. All St. John's does is plunder us, same as it did other resource rich areas of the island - fishing outports, Botwood, G-F Windsor, S'ville, C'brook, Buchans, Burin, etc. Labrador is culturally, economically, and socially distinct from Nfld and therefore should separate from the island. Same as Cape Breton should leave N.S. and northern Quebec and Ontario should leave those provinces. The Labrador Separatist Party will win eventually and if St. John's doesn't agree to allow us to go separate ways legally and willingly, we will find other ways.

  • Ed. A.
    March 31, 2011 - 13:47

    it is disgusting to see all the gutless ass#@les that hung on to Danny's coattails just to get elected and get a cabinet position so eager to stab him in the back and start sucking up to the slimiest prime minister Canada ever had. and as for the former MHA's lining up to run and support him you will have a lot of company after the Oct. election. and one of them will be Dumberdale. don't forget the problem is still Harper not Danny Williams. It is still a mystery how any half intelligent person would believe anything Harper tells them. but then again most of them are not even half intelligent. I wish that I was a card carrying Tory so that i could at least tear up or burn the card. have a nice day.

    March 31, 2011 - 13:46

    Oh Stevie, you must believe all the "stupid newfie" jokes the mainlanders tell. I've never seen someone hold so much contempt towards this province as this slimy fella. If Harper thinks that NLer's so quickly forget what a two-timing tyrant he is he's sadly mistaken.

  • ...in your ointment.
    March 31, 2011 - 13:23

    Labrador does not belong to nfld. Labrador is the homeland of indigenous Peoples who do not wish to be colon-ized.Harper is on shaky ground here. Ms. Plunderdale should take some lessons in history and the law...you all should. Labrador will cut nfld adrift soon.

    March 31, 2011 - 12:14


  • Something Doesn't Jive
    March 31, 2011 - 12:11

    It would be so easy for the Harper to say Yeah we'll support it and then double cross us, not like he hasn't done it before. There must be another reason, perhaps to please Quebec or maybe they ran the numbers, they didn't add up and Ottawa didn't want to be on the hook again like they were with Abitibi. Either way, it looks like this hydro thing is dead and everyone will blame someone else.

  • Bert
    March 31, 2011 - 11:48

    Prediction: Kathy Dunnerdale will lose the next provincial election!!! This is coming from a staunch former P.C. of two weeks ago. If I was asked two weeks ago if I would change my loyalties by October, it would have been a resounding NO, No ,NO. Now ,today if I was asked if I woulf vote P.C. next provincial election the answer would be a resounding NO, NO, No ,NO!!!!!!! Wake up kathy and put a stop to the foolishness of yours and your elected ministers!!!

  • Brett
    March 31, 2011 - 11:38

    Bah - harper will likely do to quebec what he did to NL once he gets past the election. There is too much benefit in assisting with Churchill falls, and too much negativity in giving in to quebec's attempt to maintain a stranglehold on the atlantic provinces. The rest of the country can't stand the quebec extortion attempts. Harper will do what he thinks is right in the long run, not what he's forced to acquiesce to in the short term (which is exactly what happened to NL with the atlantic accord).

  • Any surprise
    March 31, 2011 - 11:35

    Does this really surprise anyone? Holding a deal as ransom for seats....Newfoundlanders are too smart for that!

    • cuddles
      March 31, 2011 - 12:23

      Our new premier sure got a bad response to her cuddling this time--hope she is a quick learner ,or that all NL remembers broken promises and picks up the slack. ABC--AMS

  • Danny where are you
    March 31, 2011 - 11:15

    Awesome letter to Premier Williams, you actually cared for the people unlike this government which can't make their mind up about anything important. Hello Premier, I was shocked upon hearing news of you retirement from politics. I hope that all goes well for you in private life. I just wanted to write you a letter to share how your leadership has affected me. Perhaps you are aware of the affect you have had on the people of my homeland, perhaps you are not. If you are, then your graciousness is impressive, if not then it is only because your humility will not allow it. Growing up in the eighties and nineties in Deer Lake I saw my beloved province crumbling. I saw my extended family leave for better futures, at least in a finaicial sense. They were sad days. I was a still young when the moratorium gutted our traditions and history like a metaphorical fish on the flakes. I saw the coming and going of pipe dreams like Sprung. I was around to watch our indomiatable spirit take so many body blows. It seemed it would never end. Things began to change upon your arrival in office. You provided a vision of hope, a plan to change hope to reality, and a will to pursue that plan. In the years since the oil money has come, you have fought big oil, big celebrities, and big jerks from Ottawa. You have done so with a class tat belies the ferocious defense you have provided our people. But perhaps your most important legacy is not the economic one, although your stewardship has provided a bright future for the island. I think your greatest achievement is restoring the faith and pride we all feel in being Newfoundlanders. And for that I know you will always be remembered as our greatest leader. Thank you for your service.

  • Scott
    March 31, 2011 - 11:13

    Harper's commitment or lack thereof will likely be the most significant factor in getting PCs elected in this province. It could easily go from 7 Liberal seats to 7 Conservative seats with a simple commitment. Those 7 seats could be the difference between a majority and a minority government... Such an environmentally sound comitment would not rile anyone other than Quebec and I don't see it riling the Quebec voters - only Hydro Quebec and the politicians that they have in their pockets.

    • Abdul Saieed
      March 31, 2011 - 12:16

      A mass exodus to the Conservatives over the issue of a hydro Project as if there are no other issues in this election? You really underestimate the intelligence of Newfoundlanders.

  • mary
    March 31, 2011 - 11:06

    ROFL Now what are they are all going to do? Everyone threw themselves behind the CRAP, out there helping and even running for seats. Cripes guys, you look like fools. Non-ethical fools at that. This does not help Dunderdale at all. She lost me with her enthusiasm for Harper in the past few days (no, I was not part of any ABC campaign) and this makes it all look worse. What is Ottenheimer going to do now? Is he going to change his mind? ROFL

  • holy smokes
    March 31, 2011 - 11:03

    Harper Stalls...No kiddin'....What else would you expect..There was NO SUBSTANCE to his offer.........Those who think it will come will have to wait for a long time...there is a hellava lot more than Harper's word required in that......If you want reassurance, have a look at the screwin' NL got during the accord "debate"...he backtracked and connived every which way but loose to avoid NL LEGAL claim, pre signed, sealed and delivered...there will be no comfort until Christ himself puts HIS signature to that promise.....he sure as hell WON'T get my vote...I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him!! Jack A$$!

  • Shannon Reardon
    March 31, 2011 - 10:56

    Trust him, do we?

  • Randy
    March 31, 2011 - 10:47

    What a polite way to say "NO" by stateing more discussions are needed..Are you giveing Dunderdale the loan garrentee or not Steve((YES OR NO)