Mayors looking to Ottawa to fund new arenas and stadiums for pro sports teams say they’re frustrated and confused by the signals coming from the Harper government as Quebec City confirms plans to build an NHL rink with or without federal cash.
Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume confirmed on Thursday the city will split the cost of the $400-million project with the province of Quebec – without a private-sector partner.
The Harper government responded by saying it may still chip in under a policy that would apply to Quebec and the rest of the country. The region’s Conservative MPs were not invited to the announcement.
“If the federal government goes and gives some funds to that kind of building, that would be on [the basis of] equality and transparency, and affordable for everyone in the country,” said Josée Verner, the federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister and the cabinet’s representative for Quebec City.
With the country heading toward a possible federal election in the spring, Conservative MPs in Eastern Quebec face heightened political pressure to come up with something.
“If they don’t, it will be political suicide,” said Luc Paradis, president of the Quebec City chamber of commerce.