Conservatives promise Lake Diefenbaker irrigation project support

The federal Conservatives have stated they are committed to supporting the Lake Diefenbaker irrigation project, the party has not clarified what that support would look like.

The party did not respond to CTV News’ requests to clarify how much money the Conservatives would commit to the project, or the timelines involved.

“Justin Trudeau has paid lip service to to funding the Lake Diefenbaker irrigation project, but a year later, his government has yet to commit funding for this project,” Erin O’Toole, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, said in a news release Wednesday. “A Conservative government will get shovels in the ground on this project to drive recovery for Saskatchewan and secure our long term food supply.”

The release stated the project will create 2,500 jobs, support the growth of diverse, high-value crops and reduce the region’s vulnerability to climate change.

In a statement from spokesperson Adrienne Vaupshas, the Liberal Party said it has championed the Lake Diefenbaked project since forming government.

“Unlike the Conservatives who have no clear plan to fund this project, we’ve earmarked $1.5 billion exclusively for irrigation and will continue to work with the Infrastructure Bank to support these projects,” the statement said.

The Government of Saskatchewan committed to the project in 2020, committing an initial $500 million to get it started.

A funding arrangement has so far not been reached between the province and Ottawa on the 10-year project. Premier Scott Moe was unavailable for an interview but said in a statement that he looks forward to working with whichever government is elected.

“Should a new federal government be interested in partnering on Saskatchewan’s irrigation project, we would welcome that,” Moe said.

The estimated $4 million project is expected to irrigate 500,00 acres of land.

Lake Diefenbaker was created in the 1960’s with the potential of irrigating half a million acres of farm land. Only one fifth was realized before further development was abandoned.