The $1.2-billion transmission cable between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland will go ahead with or without federal funding, Premier Darrell Dexter said on Thursday.

Dexter said the $375-million federal contribution has yet to be secured.

“It’s not contingent on or conditional on federal funding,” said Dexter, adding he can’t imagine why Ottawa would turn down the provinces’ request.

“This is the moment in which the economic landscape of our region changes. Why on Earth would the federal government not want to be a part?”

On Thursday, energy utilities Emera and Nalcor announced a 35-year deal that will see 500 megawatts a year transmitted across the Cabot Strait. Dexter said the project is a “huge step” toward an integrated regional energy system, meaning cleaner energy and more stable energy prices.

Dexter will meet with New Brunswick Premier David Alward Friday morning to talk about regional energy co-operation.

Not all provinces involved are happy about the decision, however. Dexter said he spoke to Quebec Premier Jean Charest Wednesday morning, who reiterated concerns about federal support for the project.

“It’s a matter on which we must agree to disagree,” said Dexter. “The simple fact of the matter is that this is a nation-building project.”

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said in a release that the deal will end Quebec determining “the fate of the most attractive clean energy project in North America.”