I can’t say this is surprising. I knew that Jean Charest would jump at the chance to attempt to buy himself some love again from the Quebec voters. Yesterday, he committed 180 million dollars for this project in addition to what Quebec City mayor, Regis Lebeaume has already committed. In all, 400 million dollars is necessary. Since this is Quebec, where our infrastructure projects are known to be finished way over deadline and way over budget, count on it going above and beyond 400 million smackers.
That’s just great! I mean, Charest got himself in trouble with his last budget , implementing user fees and a nasty zombie; the health care contribution which starts this year. Those super hospitals that were supposed to be long built are still empty lots.
Our public schools are suffering. For Gawd’s sake, did you know that parents are obliged to send their kids to their public schools with their own toilet paper? That’s right, kids. Kim Fraser on CJAD did a whole segment on her show about how much parents have to cough up these days just to send their kids to public schools and all the supplies they have to purchase. Amongst that long shopping list, was toilet paper. Pathetic!
But, golly gee, Charest, who finds himself mired in scandals, which honestly, if they didn’t exist, they would had to have been invented–that’s just the way it goes in Quebec. When French Quebec generally deems the Liberals have been in power for too long, a ‘crisis’ pops up like magic! Trust me, my readers from the province of Quebec know exactly what I’m talking about. The Parti-Quebecois ain’t so squeaky clean,neither. Particularly, not that shrew Pauline Marois when she held various ministries under Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry.
It’s been a rough spring and summer for Charest and the death of MNA Claude Bechard of Temiscouata-Kamouraska, no doubt, would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. But really, Jean, a hockey arena? For an NHL team that doesn’t even exist? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman certainly hasn’t committed to anything. From what I understand, he’s saying, build the arena and we’ll see.
I’m surprised Charest is pledging this tax payer money, though. I never would have imagined him doing such a thing as a fed under the old Progressive Conservatives years ago. I thought he would be smart enough to know that this arena won’t curry favor with him. Gilles Duceppe and the separatists will use the hypothetical Nordiques Part deux to promote sovereignty as Kelly McParland explained not long ago.
“That’s right! If we were independent, we’d have a great big arena in Quebec and our team would only speak French and we’d win the Stanley Cup eight times out of 10, because when you’re independent, you win the Stanley Cup.”)
As silly as that sounds, McParland is correct, that is exactly how the separatists will paint this. Remember, the separatists had used the Quebec Olympic athletes’ performances to promote sovereignty as well; the precedent certainly exists. Thus, Charest would not be seen as having been the savior of Quebec hockey. In fact, those scandals which he faces will still remain front and center and he will continue to wear his last budget.
As I’ve pointed out in previous posts and on other comment boards, after fifteen years, we’re due for another referendum on sovereignty and this one better count; Quebec’s place within or without Canada needs to be resolved one way or the other. Sorry, Premier Charest, you’re the big loser here; you should have taken the high road; either way, your days are numbered; the least you can do is just say “No!” to paying for that new arena. After all, John Molson didn’t use tax payer dollars to build the Molson Center (now the Bell Center); neither did any other Canadian jurisdiction. The precident simply isn’t there. The very least you can do with whatever time you have left in the Premier’s chair is to try fix public health care and education, seriously! If the schools can’t supply even the cheapest of toilet paper, there is a serious problem here.
It was argued over the week-end by Norman Spector that Pierre-Karl Peladeau was working feverishly hard to fight the CRTC to get his Harpercon infomercial channel on a “must carry” license so he can lobby Master Steve for the bucks to pay for the majority of that new white elephant. Here’s a thought, if Peladeau is the billionaire, why doesn’t he foot the bill for this arena the same way Molson did in Montreal for the Habs? I had provided examples of Juinior’s business past that may indicate that Peladeau may not have quite the midas touch in business Big Daddy Peladeau had.
After some Harpercon puppets were seen sporting old Nordiques jerseys about town, it seems to be more likely that Stevie spiteful will be engaging in some of his trademark pork barrel politics in Quebec City. As Don Martin pointed out, his puppets would not be running around like cheerleaders in the Nordiques jerseys without orders from the Master hisself. So Stevie spiteful, in not only a desperate attempt to keep his existing Quebec seats, but perhaps an attempt to buy more, is also trying to buy himself some Quebecois lovin’ with this bloody arena. Jean-Pierre Blackburn has said that federal funding cannot be accomplished without some kind of private partnership. Not to mention, if Stevie spiteful coughs up the dough to buy that Quebecois lovin’, it could cause a backlash in the rest of the country for him, especially from places like Edmonton and Hamilton who seek to either build or upgrade existing arenas in their own cities.
Waiting and watching from the sidelines are NHL owners in Calgary and Edmonton who occupy the league’s sixth and second oldest rinks respectively, eyeing this as a funding precedent which the Conservatives will have a hard time ignoring in their Alberta fortress.
Just wait until Regina demands federal help for a domed football stadium or Ottawa extends its palm for a stadium handout to refurbish its inner city park. And if Quebec gets a returning NHL franchise while Jet-less Winnipeg waits in vain, well, what a mess
A mess? Now, that’s putting it mildly. However, like the Quebec Liberals tend to take for granted that Anglophones will always vote for them, thus they tend to ignore them & they pander more to Francophones, I suspect that Steve may feel the same way about the west, namely, Alberta. Look at every poll, consistantly, the Harpercons poll above 50%, many times, over 60% in Alberta; thus, perhaps, like Charest with the Anglophones, Steve may well take Alberta for granted. Another problem is that old myth that Alberta and Alberta alone supports Quebec and the have not provinces. If federal money is awarded for this arena while Edmonton may go without, won’t go over well.
In addition to potentially losing in the rest of Canada, there is no guarantee he will win more seats in Quebec or even keep the ones he already has. Remember, Duceppe has been lobbying Steve for awhile now. If Steve does decide to kick in the rest of the cash for this white elephant, one can be sure that Duceppe will be sure to be front and center, in front of the microphones and cameras taking credit for all of this, and let’s face it, when it comes right down to it, Duceppe has more credibility in Quebec than Stevie Spiteful ever will.
So no, I, for one, don’t want the tax payers funding a new arena in Quebec City. I just wished that many of my fellow Quebecers felt the same way and had bigger fish to fry like health care and education, rather than to worry about arenas for non-existant teams. There is no precedent for this as pointed out earlier. Sports stadiums and hockey arenas are privately funded solely. Peladeau wants an NHL franchise so badly, let him build the arena on his own dime. We hear governments at all levels saying we must cut back; there’s no money for health care and education and other programs and such, then it stands to reason, there is no money for white elephants.
Wouldn’t it be a kick in the pants if after the all 3 levels of gov’t committed the funding for this arena, and it got built, only for Bettman to say “no” to Quebec City, either because the arena took too long to build (like most of our infrastructure projects as mentioned above) or whatever other reason. A further outrage to the tax payers, but oh the irony!