That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

A page from Maxime’s book?

“Money doesn’t grow on trees” – Maxime Bernier’s come out swinging against the Colisée funding proposal – I can’t help but wish the Liberals had taken the same position.

If they had, they’d have come off as 1) the sensible economists with a masterplan, versus the spendthrift, giddy, erratic Conservatives, and 2) ballsy enough to be able to say no to Québec projects once in a while. And I don’t think that would have cost them dramatically in la Belle Province… like anyone, the Québécois can appreciate that Ottawa isn’t really there to build NHL rinks.

Ignatieff came out of the summer bus tour full of piss and vinegar, sleeves rolled up, and with a mean glint in his eye. It was good. The Liberals need now to follow through with tough, united, defensible opposition to dumb Harper moves like this – not seem cowed into agreement, for fear of what retribution opposition might bring.


Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. ck says:

    Not as easy as you think. Sad that the first item on the agenda pre-parliament opening is that dad-blasted hockey arena in Quebec City.

    “And I don’t think that would have cost them dramatically in la Belle Province… like anyone, the Québécois can appreciate that Ottawa isn’t really there to build NHL rinks.”

    Wanna bet?

    As a life long Quebecer, it pains me to say this, but can say unequivocally, that sometimes, my fellow Quebecers have romantic notions and that takes over common sense. In this case, the return of the Nordiques would take precedence over health care and education in their world.

    The other thing is, if Gilles Duceppe leads the charge and says hockey arenas funded publicly is the greatest thing since poutine for Quebec pride, then by George, they will follow it.

    Hockey is more than just a past time here in La Belle Province. It’s even more than a religion. It’s their air that they breathe. It comes above nutrition and water.

    Harper is in a catch 22; he funds, that means he has to fund sports complexes across Canada; he doesn’t, he stands to lose, at the very least, most of his Quebec seats, certainly all of his Quebec City seats. Don’t forget, the mayor of Quebec City, Regis Labeaume is much like Quebec City’s answer to Danny Williams; he is a populist and is extremely popular with much influence. Harpie says “no”, all Labeaume has to do is campaign against Harpie in next fed election. Harpie says “yes” and Liberals and / or NDP (NDP don’t really matter, they never win in Quebec City, but still…) publicly provide opposition to funding, Liberals lose whatever head way they started making in Quebec.

  2. polygonic says:

    Thanks for the comment. I too bow to the altar of the hockey gods, and would love nothing more than massive NHL expansion across Canada. With the Colisée question though, Harper has to consider that 1) there is very little indication that lack of a big arena is the only obstacle to a resurrected Nordique franchise, 2) Quebec won’t be getting the Winter Olympics just 12 years after Vancouver did, and 3) even if Ottawa pumped hundreds of millions into this, it would be naive to expect a political reward in Quebec that would outweigh political punishment elsewhere. The feds can cover the arena in maple leaves and Economic Action Plan signs, but would that win the heart and mind of a single romantic Bloquiste?

    You’re right there is a big catch 22 now – Labeaume’s local influence is unique, but also the behaviour of Harper’s Quebec caucus, who are set up for humiliation if the PMO backs away. He can introduce a national NHL rink building scheme to avert charges of QC pandering and Sun/Quebecor cronyism, but there goes the fiscal prudence thing (that what remains!)

  3. ck says:

    Personally, I hate hockey. This, naturally, makes me an oddity in La Belle Province, that & the fact that English is my first language.

    “there is very little indication that lack of a big arena is the only obstacle to a resurrected Nordique franchise,…”

    Well, that’s what Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner is leading them to believe; old Colisee appears to be their only obstacle.

    As for the Olympic games of 2022; I’m surprised no one is touching this: I shall be blogging (albeit speculative on my part) about this soon, when I find the time; what if Quebec is separated by then? To simply say it would & could never happen would be foolhardy indeed.

  4. polygonic says:

    All very interesting – would Quebec win the Olympics within a decade of independence? Some might suggest that Quebec City’s been denied Olympics bids in the past due to political uncertainty and the threat of capital flight should independence come to the fore. 2002 should have been Quebec’s Games, for e.g., but the sovereignty question loomed relatively large. So I feel secure in saying that QC really can’t win a bid in our generation, within or without Canada.

    As for Bettman… he stands in the way of most things! Hamilton/southern Ontario is certainly pro hockey’s best new market in Canada, and Winnipeg a solid second… don’t mean to rain on Quebec’s parade, but there will have to be both a sea change in NHL governance plus some real patience before Quebec regains the Nordiques. Harper Coliseum won’t expedite that, sadly.

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