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Girard should stop wasting his time with the NHL, opposition believes

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press On Monday, Eric Girard met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The opposition on Wednesday invited the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, to focus on higher priority issues than the holding of National Hockey League (NHL) matches in Quebec, including the most recent budget deficit, $11 billion.

Solidarity MP Vincent Marissal recalled that Mr. Girard himself estimated at 10% the probability of a return of an NHL team which could succeed the Nordiques in the capital. “Doing canvassing which is also doomed to failure, I don’t think it’s the job of the Minister of Finance to do that,” a- he declared in an interview.

On Monday, Mr. Girard, responsible for the return of the Nordiques, met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, with whom he discussed the possibility of other teams imitating the Los Kings Angeles and play matches in Quebec.

Mr. Marissal affirmed that Minister Girard's repeated visits created unease given the lack of interest shown by Mr. Bettman in the return of a team to Quebec, where the City had an amphitheater built with $400 million in funds public in the hope of seeing the Nordics again. “It feels a bit colonized. It’s a bit like “we were born for a little bread,” he said.

Credibility deficit

According to the elected official from Québec solidaire, the government should instead put its energies into creating a professional women's hockey team. “We won’t have to bribe the National League or other teams. “We won't have to suck like Gary Bettman and the others have been suckling for years, and I think it would be a little more profitable in the short term,” he said.

Liberal MP Frédéric Beauchemin believes that the Minister of Finance has a “credibility deficit” since his controversial decision to grant a subsidy of 5 to 7 million for the organization of Los Angeles Kings matches in Quebec next October. “While we are open to the idea of ​​hosting other teams in the future, we believe it is not the Minister’s role to deal with this. Instead, let’s leave it to private companies specializing in this field,” he said in a written statement. “Besides, we consider that with a deficit of $11 billion, there are more pressing priorities for the Minister of Finance. »

The MP for Jean-Talon, the PQ Pascal Paradis, also believes that Mr. Girard should concentrate on his most pressing issues rather than trying to organize NHL matches. “There are plenty of people in Quebec who specialize in this type of event. At a time when Quebec's finances require his full attention, it is perhaps time for the minister to let them work,” he said in a written statement.

Public funds

Mr. Marissal was still open to the proposal to host other NHL games in Quebec, without the support of public funds, as Mr. Girard's office indicated on Tuesday.< /p>

The supportive MP recalled that the case of Salt Lake City, where the Kings will play without receiving assistance from the City or the State of Utah, demonstrated that the minister negotiated poorly the agreement for the matches they will play in Quebec. “He shouldn’t be fooled a second time. But if there are other teams that come, we should not put public money into it. We got lectured by Salt Lake City, who brought in the Kings for free,” he said.

Mr. Beauchemin, for his part, requested more details on Mr. Girard's plan which aims to highlight the Quebec amphitheater thanks to these NHL matches. “We doubt Minister Girard’s ability to lead these negotiations. Before fully supporting this initiative, we demand transparency and details of its plan on the valorization of the amphitheater and for the economic benefits. »

Mr. Paradis, for his part, stressed that Quebec remained an ideal place to organize sporting events in particular. “There are many hockey fans in Quebec,” he noted.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116