Harper touts hydro-electric upgrades on last day of northern tour

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was officially signing the paperwork Friday for Ottawa’s contribution to the $160 million upgrade to the Mayo B hydro-electric project in the Yukon.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper waits to speak at an announcement in Pangnirtung

MAYO, Yukon — Prime Minister Stephen Harper was officially signing the paperwork Friday for Ottawa’s contribution to the $160 million upgrade to the Mayo B hydro-electric project in the Yukon.

The project was given the green light earlier this year and was previously announced by the Conservative government three months ago.

Still, an elaborate photo-op was staged Friday involving Harper and Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie, who were expected to take a tour of the facility and take a helicopter ride over the mountainous, picturesque Stewart River.

Journalists, who’ve followed Harper on his five-day northern tour, were flown by a Canadian air force C-130 Hercules into the tiny community of 250 and were kept in the dark about the destination until the night before.

Critics have complained events in the three territories this week have been nothing more than repackaged announcements and possibly even a dry-run for a fall election.

New Democrat northern critic Dennis Bevington dismissed the tour as “hollow rhetoric.”

The federal contribution towards the two-stage expansion is $70 million — cash coming from the Conservative government’s $1 billion Green Infrastructure Fund.

Opposition parties have expressed concern that the territory may be digging itself a deep financial hole because it will have to come up with matching funds.

Once completed in 2013, the project is expected to reduce the Yukon’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent from current levels.

The territory was expecting to spend as much as $20 million a year on diesel fuel generators to power its electricity stations, dumping as much as 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

The prime minister said the project is a perfect example of how Canada has the potential of becoming a clean energy superpower.

“By investing in these upgrades to this hydro plant today, we are creating jobs, protecting the environment and ensuring a more reliable supply of electricity for the Yukon,” Harper said in a prepared statement.

The construction project will involve building a new powerhouse downstream from the existing facility, adding an extra 6 megawatts to the existing grid.

The second phase involves adding new transmission lines to the existing Carmacks-Stewart grid.

Preliminary site work is expected to get underway this year.

Just Posted

Prosecutor illness delays dangerous driving trial

Red Deer man facing dangerous driving charges in connection with 2016 d0uble-fatal collision

More say in Catholic education proposed

Voting for both public and Catholic trustees

RCMP officer fires his gun in confrontation with suspects near Maskwacis

RCMP were called to Samson First Nation with report of shots fired early on Monday morning

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read