François Legault justifies his decision to subsidize two Los Angeles Kings games by stating that it is important to invest in leisure activities.
The Prime Minister made these statements on Friday during a press conference in Rivière-au-Renard, in Gaspésie.
He told a reporter that he had no intention of withdrawing the $5 million to $7 million grant for the Kings to come play two warm-up games in Quebec next fall.
“It’s also important to invest in leisure, whether it’s sports or culture,” he defended.
A look at the NHL
Mr. Legault said he hoped National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman would be in Quebec for those two games so he could appreciate the Videotron Center for its true worth.
By way of argument, the prime minister also stated that the arrival of the Kings was important, “because the people of Quebec love hockey.”
“It’s time for the National League to agree to give a franchise (to Quebec), so to have the Nordiques back, then we see it as an opportunity to show this amphitheater,” he said.
Criticisms and negotiations
The Legault government has been criticized from all sides since it announced the subsidy on Tuesday. Members of the CAQ even acknowledged this week that the timing had been poorly chosen, given the current economic context.
The Montreal Canadiens also went so far as to throw a wrench into the pond, claiming he would have played in Quebec for free. And media reports revealed that pre-season games held in other cities, such as Halifax, did not require public money.
However, those linked to negotiations in the public sector engage in “petty politics”, according to Mr. Legault.
“If we accepted the demands of the unions, it would cost 3.7 billion dollars more. Quebec taxpayers’ ability to pay is limited. Then it’s not about raising taxes. »
“When we’re talking about $5 million to $7 million, there’s quite a difference, and then there are some who play petty politics saying, ‘Why don’t you give it in pay raises?’ We’re not talking about the same amounts,” he said. argued
“We can always count on François Legault to show our solidarity with the millionaires,” Quebec Solidaire parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois responded on social media.
Parti Quebec leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon promised to return to the issue next week, while Quebec Liberal Party interim leader Marc Tanguay continued Friday to denounce an “indefensible decision.”
“François Legault gave $7 million of Quebecers’ money to the Los Angeles Kings to force Gary Bettman’s hand? Really? Is this his strategy to get the Norse back?” he protested on the X network.
For his part, the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ), Éric Duhaime, accused Mr. Legault of wanting to “buy” the people of Quebec with “hockey tickets to go see a game of the offseason B team of the Los Angeles Kings.
“Why does François Legault propose something so absurd and illogical? Because he escaped from the Quebec region”, insisted Mr. Duhaime in a press conference, alluding to the reverse that the CAQ suffered in Jean-Talon during the last partial elections.
“Is the 7 million the price to pay for the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, to meet with Mr. Bettman? ” He said. In response to the argument that it was necessary to “invest in leisure”, Mr. Duhaime argued that young people in Quebec could have benefited from increased funding for their sports activities .
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