10/03/2012 06:37 EDT | Updated 12/03/2012 05:12 EST

Dunderdale targets Quebec in defence of Muskrat Falls

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale has launched a staunch defence of the Muskrat Falls project, while taking aim at an old enemy.

In a speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade on Wednesday, Dunderdale warned that Muskrat Falls must go ahead or the province will remain at the mercy of Hydro-Quebec.

“This is the chance of a generation for Newfoundland and Labrador,” Dunderdale said.

But the premier targeted the grievances of past generations as she sold opportunity for future ones.

She linked the hydro potential of Muskrat Falls as a way to settle old scores.

“It will make us energy self-sufficient and it will break Quebec’s hold over Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The premier linked Hydro-Quebec directly to the mineral potential of Labrador.

If there is no domestic source of power to fuel new developments, Dunderdale says, the mining companies will be forced to turn to an old adversary for power.

Dunderdale says mining company officials have raised the issue with her.

“They understand that if Muskrat Falls does not go ahead, what happens in Labrador from that point on lies squarely in the hands of Hydro-Quebec and the people of Quebec,” she noted.

Dunderdale also used her speech to defend the process used to crunch the numbers that support the project, and the level of disclosure of information to the public.

But the sudden push of Quebec to the forefront was a direct appeal to local nationalism.

The Muskrat Falls debate is expected to take place in the house of assembly this fall.

After that, the Tory government will make a final decision on whether to green light the project.