Liberal Party: We’d fund Canadian sports arenas

Canada’s Liberal Party is now trying to use the Quebec arena fight to score political points, as party leader Michael Ignatieff has declared that he’d be happy to provide federal funds for the project — or, for that matter, sports stadiums and arenas in other parts of Canada — if only he were, you know, prime minister:

“It’s not a question of giving little gifts here and there,” he said. “I think the project is important because it’s a public space. That’s what counts, a public space to present the culture, to present the economic success of the region.

“And if the same case arises in Regina or Vancouver I’ll say the same thing … If we’re talking about a public space that contributes to the development of that region, then the federal government can contribute.”

“A public space that contributes to the development of that region” — that’s a pretty broad category, considering how far stadium boosters like to stretch the meaning of public benefit. And it’s a way more lenient standard than that used by the federal P3 fund, which in any case explicitly excludes sports facilities for consideration.

The real goal, presumably, is to woo Quebec voters who are steamed that the feds aren’t going to be chipping in to try to bring a new version of the Nordiques back to their city. Whether it plays as well in the rest of Canada — where, let’s not forget, the prospect of federal subsidies to NHL teams previously prompted an all-out citizen revolt — is another story.


4 comments on “Liberal Party: We’d fund Canadian sports arenas

  1. Remember how Canadian politics work: the Liberals promise to spend what they won’t, and the Conservatives spend what they promise they won’t.

  2. north or south of the border – beware of politicians bearing “gifts” using whatever euphemism they want.
    hide your wallets and loonies, eh?

  3. This one shocks me… I’m no fan of Ignatieff, but even at that I can’t understand why any leader would take such a ridiculous step. Canadian fans of all political affiliations have said, in the majority, that they don’t want tax dollars used on professional sports facilities.

    If we ever really needed proof that politicians are woefully disconnected…

    But lest you think I have an anti-Liberal bias… our hated PM just – and I’m not making this up – linked the opposition threat to defeat the government and the Japanese earthquake & nuclear meltdown risk.

    Really, can you go any lower than that?

  4. Hi John,

    I don’t know if you can go lower, but that horrible blue sweater had set the bar very very low already. Stephen Harper is smart like Palin, pious like Swaggart, and ethical like W. With extra business sense!

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