[HALIFAX, NS] - Defence Minister Peter MacKay is warning that a federal election would put decisions on funding for Atlantic Canadian projects on pause.
Among the projects that would be stalled is a $159 million convention centre in downtown Halifax, he said, adding that Nova Scotia had made “a very strong case” for assistance for the project.
“Once the budget is defeated or once we go into an election, if we're plunged into an election by the opposition, it has the effect of hitting pause on many of these initiatives,” he told the Halifax Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
The province and the city have agreed to contribute $56 million each while Ottawa has been asked to contribute $47 million from the Building Canada Fund.
MacKay said there would have been a decision “in the not too distant future” on the funding.
Infrastructure Minister Bill Estabrooks recently predicted a federal decision was imminent. Estabrooks went to Ottawa last week to meet his federal counterpart, Chuck Strahl.
Estabrooks has said he wanted to remind Strahl that time is running out on a mid-April deadline set by the developer, Rank Inc.
The proposal for the Nova Centre is billed by Rank Inc. as the most significant new construction project in Halifax in several decades.
The proposed convention centre would cover two blocks and would also include a hotel, apartments and 600 parking spots.
MacKay said any commitment to assist with the financing of a subsea cable to carry electricity from Labrador's Lower Churchill Falls hydroelectricity project to Nova Scotia would also be further delayed.
“Bureaucrats in Ottawa put down their pens (during an election),” he said.
MacKay said that doesn't mean a federal decision on assistance with the subsea cable was expected shortly.
The two Atlantic provinces had applied to Ottawa in June for $375 million to help build the subsea cable for the project. Its proponents say it would be largest clean-energy development of its kind in North America.