Premier Kathy Dunderdale speaks to members of the St. John's Board of Trade. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale defended the provincial budget and her government's record in the past couple of years in a speech to the St. John's Board of Trade this afternoon.
Dunderdale especially defended her record on Muskrat Falls and her relationship with the federal government pressing for a federal loan guarantee.
The premier gave new details about the negotiations with Ottawa, saying Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to get the province to make concessions on other issues in exchange for the loan guarantee.
Dunderdale said she personally had to play hardball, and insist that Harper lived up to his election promise.
"We're not going to walk away from a billion dollars," Dunderdale said. "You stand up; you do the right thing."
Dunderdale also talked about the spring budget which has been an ongoing source of controversy.
"It's a very good budget," Dunderdale said.
The March 26 provincial budget included hundreds of civil service layoffs and deep spending cuts across the board.
Dunderdale cited BMO's report on the province, saying the government's "prudent fiscal management" is supporting a strong local economy.
"This province is the picture of health, strength, and prosperity," Dunderdale said. "Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are better off, and our economy is much better off than a decade ago."
Instead of announcing any major new initiatives, Dunderdale largely used the speech to celebrate accomplishments from the past decade in government, especially the past year.
She talked about Nalcor's investment in oil and gas, along with their own push to do drilling exploration off Labrador.
She also highlighted the government's negotiation with Vale for underground expansion at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine.
"We need to celebrate that we're doing things differently," Dunderdale.