PM’s visit may include Muskrat promise

James McLeod
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Harper expected to pledge loan guarantee during Thursday campaign stop

Premier Kathy Dunderdale speaks with reporters outside the House of Assembly following question period Tuesday afternoon.

It won’t be the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus coming to town Thursday, but for Premier Kathy Dunderdale, it’s very likely the next best thing.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to make a campaign pledge to support the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development when he visits the province later this week.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Dunderdale wouldn’t confirm anything, but said she’s full of suspense.

“The Prime Minister is coming on Thursday, and I’m looking forward to that with a great deal of anticipation, and we’ll see what Thursday brings,” she said. “I’ve said time and time again that I would be struck amazed if the Prime Minister wasn’t supportive of Muskrat Falls. It’s a very good project for the people of the province.”

The province has been lobbying hard for federal support on the $6.2-billion project.

In mid-February when Harper was in St. John’s to formally unveil a new Marine Atlantic vessel, Dunderdale laid out her case for the project.

In turn, the government asked for a detailed breakdown of the economic case for the project, and a number of conditions and parameters necessary to garner federal support.

“Those parameters have been under discussion since we met at the inauguration of the Blue Puttees,” Dunderdale said. “He had some very serious questions about the economics of the project. He needed to understand it fully. He put together a team to work with ourselves and Nalcor.

“The Prime Minister is coming on Thursday, and I’m looking forward to that with a great deal of anticipation, and we’ll see what Thursday brings.” Premier Kathy Dunderdale

“We’ve been very seriously engaged for a number of weeks now, and I think we’re at a place where we should be able to hear something very soon.”

The federal support would take the form of a loan guarantee, which would allow Nalcor to finance the project at lower interest rates. Nalcor CEO Ed Martin has said that it would amount to a difference of two percentage points on the overall interest rate, which would translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.

The federal government wouldn’t actually have to pay any money, but it would have to carry a portion of the debt on its books.

Since the Harper government lost a confidence vote in the House of Commons Friday and an election is underway, Harper cannot actually make any announcements on behalf of the government.

Any committent he makes Thursday would only be in the form of a campaign pledge if the conservatives are re-elected.

St. John’s South-Mount Pearl incumbent Liberal candidate Siobhan Coady told The Telegram Tuesday evening Leader Michael Ignatieff has already pledged his support for the project if the Liberals win the election.

Organizations: Marine Atlantic, House of Commons

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Recent comments

  • Bob
    March 31, 2011 - 05:45

    Keep up the show Kathy..........Step back and look at the big picture. If you need the federal government to guarantee a loan, then maybe it's too risky. I can't imagine a financial institution not offering prime rates for a sound green energy project when the environment is such a concern and energy is in such high demand. Do your job. I guess now we know why Danny had to be a dictator, that team of 'DUNDERHEADS' can't survive without a leader. They don't need a figurehead.

  • David
    March 30, 2011 - 21:30

    Newfoundland...where buying seats is as easy as putting on your credit card, and never making a payment.

  • Patsy
    March 30, 2011 - 17:20

    Is the little dictator now dancing and stomping his feet because the new Premier is not clicking her heels to his commands? So he is taking his sucker and going home and not attending his farewell party, just for him, because your Premier talked to Stephen Harper? Tell me this isn't so??? I half knew Danny was a dictator, do it my way or I will cry and yell... so most of you followed, now he is expecting everything to be as he wanted it, and will get ya if ya try to change it. He must be a Liberal. He has to be a Liberal. Only Liberals act like this. Nasty

  • citizen
    March 30, 2011 - 16:44

    funny, how could i have missed that point in last weeks's pre election budget?...

  • francis
    March 30, 2011 - 16:23

    every day the people of this province get another example at how the conservatives, both feds and provs. will stop at nothing to enhance their political agendas. their shameful opportunism knows no boundaries. Formally invisible candidates have been coming out of hiding (or the senate) to run for the not so long ago vilified tories, their provincial counterparts are climbing all over each other to endorse their runs and to cry that all is well, let bygones lie and lets gain power. How dumb do they think we are?. Tomorrow we will lay out the red carpet for a federal leader who would have been tarred and feathered 2 years ago by these same cronies lining up today to get their heads up his rear end, and to accept his election bribe of a loan guarantee.. it would be laughable if it wasn't so shameful.. what can one say but let the blind lead the blind...

  • francis
    March 30, 2011 - 16:19

    every day the people of this province get another example at how the conservatives, both feds and provs. will stop at nothing to enhance their political agendas. their shameful opportunism knows no boundaries. Formally invisible candidates have been coming out of hiding (or the senate) to run for the not so long ago vilified tories, their provincial counterparts are climbing all over each other to endorse their runs and to cry that all is well, let bygones lie and lets gain power. How dumb do they think we are?. Tomorrow we will lay out the red carpet for a federal leader who would have been stoned 2 years ago by these same cronies lining up today to get their heads up his rear end..and accept his election bribe of a loan guarantee.. it would be laughable if it wasn't so shameful.. what can one say but let the blind lead the blind...

  • sam
    March 30, 2011 - 16:11

    Maybe what we need is a different approach. you ever hear the phrase "you get more with honey than with vinegar"? I didnt see the opposition MP's do much in the past two years. Siobhan used to bring in a few MP's to have a lunch or Gerry Byrne calls openline everytime a Marine Atlantic ferry is late!! Maybe Mr Byrne should have done something while he was a cabinet minister!! Oh yeah but the PM didnt have enough confidence in him to keep Gerry there for any amount of time. So easy to always be negative!! I prefer to see the cup as half full instead of half empty!!

    • Savage Sam
      March 31, 2011 - 04:41

      SERIOUSLY! Harper's government was found in contempt! The first government to ever have been charged with that offense! Plus let's not forget there was a reason Danny brought about the ABC campaign....and some are actually even considering....CONSIDERING VOTING FOR STEVEN HARPER?!!! How about we vote in the four year old with the crayon too far up his nose and all the hells angels into elected seats while were at it? I will vote for a grouse walking into 8am traffic on the outer ring road to become the next Prime Minister before I vote for Harper!

  • VYT
    March 30, 2011 - 15:30

    Perhaps it's appropriate with this coming election to think back before Confederation. As the old "Anti-Confederation Song" would have it: Ye brave Newfoundlanders who plough the salt sea, With hearts like the Eagle so bold and so free, The time is at hand when we'll have to say If Confederation will carry the day. Men, hurrah for our own native Isle, Newfoundland, Not a stranger shall hold one inch of her strand; Her face turns to Britain, her Back to the Gulf, Come near at your peril, Canadian Wolf! Cheap tea and molasses they say they will give, All taxes taken off that the poor man may live - Cheap nails and cheap lumber, our coffins to make, And homespun to mend our old clothes when they break. If they take off all taxes, how then will they meet The heavy expenses on Army and fleet? Just give them the chance to get into the scrap, They'll show you the trick with pen, ink and red tape. Would you barter the right that your fathers have won? No! let them descend from father to son. For a few thousand dollars Canadian gold Don't let it be said that our birthright was sold. This time, it's Mr. Harper in the role as the Canadian wolf. Hasn't Mr. Harper already showed us the trick with pen, ink and red tape. Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us. Danny Williams had it right with the ABC campaign, and probably even with taking down the Maple Leaf flag- even if that was more histrionics than anything?

  • Maurice E. Adams
    March 30, 2011 - 15:22

    More important than a loan guarantee is whether this project is good for NL. The project requires FULL DISCLOSURE with respect to the terms and conditions, and the project's economics and viability. Let the people be FULLY INFORMED "before" decisions are taken, and let the issues be fully aired before the next election. If this is a good deal, THEN SHOW THE PEOPLE HOW THIS IS SO. Let's not allow ourselves to be side-tracked or hood-winked by rhetoric or political expediency.

  • Avalon Girl
    March 30, 2011 - 14:07

    In the fall it's "Bye Bye Dunderdale" have given us the idea Harper is worth turning your back on NL have your eyes closed, maybe it may help to do some research on what Harper did to us with SIGNED papers..shame on you , you only got where you are today because of Danny and that is why he is upset with you,you are throwing away what he faught hard for..when it comes to your turn I will cast my vote elsewhere..Thanks anyway Premier Dunderdale..

  • Red
    March 30, 2011 - 13:53

    She has a better chance of meeting the Easter bunny than she does getting anything out of Harper. It is election time and anything he says holds no water because as soon as he gets what he wants he can turn his back on us and we will have lost. Come on Dunderdale grow a spine and show us that the first woman to be Premier in NL, is worthy of the job.

  • McLovin
    March 30, 2011 - 12:24

    Ms Dunderdale obviously never learned a thing from Danny. She has all the power here. Why is she only talking about Harper? Why isn't she demanding the support of this project from the leaders of ALL the parties? She should also demand that any promise be delivered in writing!! I also think that a Harper Majority would be better for NL than a Harper Minorty. The latter would likely result in the Liberals, NDP and Bloc forming a coalition to form the government and I doubt this would be very good for our province.

    • Red
      March 30, 2011 - 13:47

      Really a Harper majority would be good for us? He snubbed us bad enough before with a minority government with no help from the opposition, what makes you think he'd give in to our demands if we put him in power? If we give him everything he wants, why would he then feel it necessary to give us anything? He'll have his majority and can say no to us on any issue and won't have to worry about backlash for 4 years, and by then he'll have retired. I wish you would think things through before speaking your mind. HARPER HAS A SEVERE DISLIKE FOR ATLANTIC CANADA. Is that loud enough for ya?

    • McLovin
      March 30, 2011 - 20:54

      I wish you would read things carefully before you posted stupid comments. I NEVER SAID THAT A HARPUR MAJORITY WOULD BE GOOD FOR NL. I SAID IT WOULD BE BETTER THAN A COALITION GOVERNMENT FORMED BY THE LIBS, BLOC AND NDP. SHOULD HARPUR WIN ANOTHER MINORITY. IS THAT LOUD ENOUGH FOR YA? What do you think NL would get in a colaition government when the LIbs, Bloc and NDP all with their own members in Cabinet and serving their own districts? How many cabinet misnisters would be from NL as compared to say Quebec, Ontario, or BC? We'd get even less than we would from a Harpur Majority Government. Idiot

    • McLovin
      March 31, 2011 - 07:33

      I wish you would read things carefully before you come on here and put ridiculous words in my mouth. If you re-read my original post, no where does it say that a Harper Majority would be good for NL. WHAT IT DID SAY WAS THAT A HARPER MAJORITY WOULD BE BETTER FOR NL THAN A COALITION GOVERNMENT OF THE LIBERALS, BLOC AND NDP, which would likely form if Harper is elected to another minortiy.Neither of these scenarios would be a good thing for NL but in my opinion the Harper Majoirty would be the better scanrio for this province. IS THAT LOUD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

  • Will
    March 30, 2011 - 11:49

    “a number of conditions and parameters necessary to garner federal support” does that include the unwritten one of delivering federal seats. Heaven help Canada if Harper gets his majority off the backs of NL’ers. Mr. Harper’s ink is a far greater risk than the chance that NL would ever default on a loan. And saying that the guarantee is to obtain a better interest rate ... Ms. Dunderdale why not just go all the way on achieving your distance from Mr. Williams and tell us that Muskrat Falls is too marginal (at this time) to burden our children and grand kids with. Our province has come a long way since 1949 and thanks to the hard work of many, have not is now no more. And no more includes Harper and having to kneel before Ottawa. Where’s the mad tare for Muskrat anyway? With all that is going on in the world today we should stay the course and in a few years those seeking safe energy will come to us, cash in hand.

  • Joseph McGrath
    March 30, 2011 - 11:47

    It is easy to make a promise when one is desperatly trying to elect a majority government like PM Harper is now doing. I am getting rather old riight now and my expiry date is not to far away but you can take it straight from my heart that Harper does not give a s--- about NL.and will promise whatever is necessary to get seats in this province. He put the gears to us before through the use of untruths and why should he change in a matter of a few years? He will promise Ms.Dunderdale whatever it takes to get her governments support for him but once it is wheels up on his return to his next pitstop NL will quickly be forgotten and will remain so if he is elected PM. I have no faith in the man or his promises as we have bent over before to get him elected years ago and the sharp pain we felt was far from administering any help to this Province. I will not be fooled again. If the present Premier has any smarts at all she would steer well clear of any Federal Party leader except to say to each of them one time "WE ARE NEWFOUNDLANDERS HERE FIRST AND FOREMOST AND WE EXPECT TO BE DONE RIGHT BY WHICHEVER PARTY WINS THE FEDERAL ELECTION.IF WE DO NOT RECEIVE FAIR TREATMENT THEN JUST WATCH US" Then she should go on with good government for our people assuming that as usual NL is in line for nothing from OTTAWA. If she figures any differently she ought to go learn fluent french with the rest of her government members. Does anyone who has lived here for 65 years or more really believe that OTTAWA gives a rat's ass about NL. I only wish former premier Williams would start pounding the airways with the truth as he experienced it.

  • keith burke
    March 30, 2011 - 11:15

    who do she think harper is? she sounds like a little girl the night before christmas, we got promises from harper before and when he got voted in all we received were lumps of coal. Bring Danny Back!

  • CBS
    March 30, 2011 - 10:45

    If this is how Harper intends to win seats in NL, and how Dunderdale intends to keep a majority government this fall, it won't be with my support. Cuts to ACOA, Marine Atlantic, DFO.....the list goes on. Accept cuts in support of what seems like the deal people want.......please.....those days are gone.

  • Lloyd
    March 30, 2011 - 10:14

    Well now, hasn't Nfld been down this road before with the Federal Conservatives? One this is for sure, Labradorians have had many many promises regarding the so called 'Lower Churchill' development - all of them have been broken - beginning with the Provincial Conservatives in the year 2003. All broken and why and how on Earth could a Labradorian believe any of them now (especially) when so much has proven to be false in the past?

  • John Smith
    March 30, 2011 - 10:09

    Old "man hands" Dunderdale is at it again.Unfortunately she will win the next election because of Williams' coattails. Worst premier ever! God help us all.

  • Rocky Williams
    March 30, 2011 - 09:36

    Well well well! Let me guess. An iffy looking letter with cloudy Ottawaese lingo with endless promises of this and that will be presented to Dunderdale.. Then there will be the follow up yippee moment for the camera and then in 3 months time tears and red faces when the PCs see that Flaherty has zero intention of opening up the checkbook for NL.

  • DON
    March 30, 2011 - 09:31

    If Harper actually promises to provide a $6 t0 $10 Billion loan guarantee which commits the taxpayers of all of Canada for this mega money loser project he deserves to be booted from office. If Harper actually goes through with this ill advised plan he will lose all of his political support in Quebec. What Federal politician in his right mind would risk losing all of the seats in Quebec in an attempt to win 7 seats in Newfoundland and Labrador? Either Harper has no intention of honoring any loan guarantee promise or he knows he going to lose the election!

  • james
    March 30, 2011 - 08:52

    Marine Atlantic, Goose Bay, ACOA, the oil equalization issue, 150 million for Goose Bay. Like - don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining. I don't want any harmony between the NL government and the Federal PC's - I want Harper out.

  • Townie
    March 30, 2011 - 08:47

    I think we've been down this road with Mr. Harper before. As Danny Williams said: "STEPHEN HARPER IS A FRAUD!"

  • Bob R
    March 30, 2011 - 08:42

    Steve, please accept my apology. I hope to go check on the cabin so I won't be here to see you. Maybe next time. You will be back, won't you ??

  • Ron
    March 30, 2011 - 08:40

    It's hard to make Dunderdale look like she knows what she is doing!! She is not a very intelligent woman... God Help US All!! How long before she has NL back in the ranks of HAVE NOT Province!!

  • MBC
    March 30, 2011 - 07:54

    Now list all the promises made to NL and let's see how many he kept...not one, and Dumberdale should know this very well. Now cuts to Marine Atlantic and ACOA.

  • Bill
    March 30, 2011 - 07:26

    A few weeks ago while he was still in Government Harper could have made an annoucement which carried some weight. And it could have been followed up in the recent Federal Budget. That would have upset Quebec and its 75 potential seats. Now all he can do is make an election promise for down the road and take maybe a little less risk of offending Quebec. In return for a promise the new Premier has sold the shop in terms of having all of her MHA's out on the campaign trail to support a Prime Minister who was found in contempt of Parliament. Does this mean that Premier Dunderdale supports the secrecy and arrogance and contempt with which Harper has treated the Federal Parliament? Does it mean that she supports actions such as the manipulation of Senate appointments such as Mannings? There has always been a distinction between the provincial Progressive Conservatives and the federal Conservative Party of Canada. That explains why so many people in NL are cormfortable voting PC in NL and not voting Conservative at the national level. Stephen Harper has shown that he is a man whom we cannot trust, so the Premier's attempt to allign herself and her party with the federal party will only lead to a demise of the PC party in the October election.

  • Casey
    March 30, 2011 - 07:19

    Can't help but chuckle at this story. We can always hope, but we all know about Harper and his promises. Hell he wouldn't even honor a signed contract.