Michael Ignatieff expressed cautious support for both the proposed trade and convention centre for downtown Halifax and the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland energy deal in Halifax on Thursday.
But the Liberal leader stopped short of opining as to whether either project should receive federal funding.
“It depends what funding means,” he said, after fielding questions from a near-capacity crowd of supporters and members of the public at the Neptune Theatre’s Fountain Hall.
“We have to see the business case, we have to see the details”
The province is asking the federal government to contribute $375 million for a $1.2-billion undersea transmission cable between Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Premier Darrell Dexter has said the project will go on with or without Ottawa’s funding.
The convention centre project, however, requires a $46-million contribution from the federal government before construction begins.
When asked what details he needed to see before forming an opinion, Ignatieff said, “I’m not in government. I’m the leader of the Opposition unless I’m much mistaken,” he said.
“I haven’t seen all the detail, but we think that this kind of project — retire some coal-fire stations, retire some carbon-intensive energy generation — is good for the country.
“And then the question is, what is the exact, precise federal role? What I’m saying is … my door would be open as prime minister to look at this carefully and see how we can make this happen.”
It was Ignatieff’s 15th edition of his Open Mike tour, a cross-country series of town hall sessions touted Thursday night as democracy in action.