Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “It's time that the National League agrees to give a franchise [to Quebec], therefore to have the return of the Nordiques, then we see that as an opportunity to show off this amphitheater,” Prime Minister François Legault said on Friday.
François Legault justifies his decision to subsidize two Los Angeles Kings games by affirming that it is important to invest in leisure activities.
The Prime Minister made these remarks on Friday during a press conference in Rivière-au-Renard, in Gaspésie.
He responded to a journalist that he had no intention of withdrawing the subsidy of 5 to 7 million dollars awarded for the Kings to come and play two preparatory matches in Quebec next fall.
“It is also important to invest in leisure, whether sports or culture,” he defended.
A nod to the NHL
Mr. Legault said he hoped that the commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL), Gary Bettman, would be present in Quebec during these two games so that he could appreciate the Videotron Center at its true value.
As an argument, the Prime Minister also declared that the arrival of the Kings was important, “because the people of Quebec love hockey.”
“It is time for the National League to agree to give a franchise [to Quebec], therefore to have the return of the Nordiques, then we see it as an opportunity to show off this amphitheater,” he said.< /p>
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Criticism and negotiations
The Legault government has been criticized from all sides since it announced the subsidy on Tuesday. CAQ members even recognized this week that the timing had been poorly chosen, considering the current economic context.
The Montreal Canadian also came to throw a wrench in the pond, claiming that he would have played in Quebec for free. And media reports revealed that preparatory matches held in other cities, such as Halifax, did not need public money.
However, those who make a link with negotiations in the sector public are engaged in “petty politics,” according to Mr. Legault.
“If we accepted the demands of the unions, it would cost $3.7 billion more. The ability of Quebec taxpayers to pay is limited. Then there is no question of increasing taxes. »
“When we talk about the $5 to $7 million, there’s a whole difference, and then there are some who play petty politics by saying, “Why don’t you give that in salary increases?” We are not talking about the same amounts,” he argued.
“We can always count on François Legault to be solidarity with millionaires,” replied the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, on social networks.
The leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, promised to return to the subject next week, while the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Marc Tanguay, continued on Friday to denounce an “indefensible decision”.
“Did François Legault give $7 million of Quebecers' money to the Los Angeles Kings to force Gary Bettman's hand? Really ? Is this his strategy to bring back the Nordiques? » 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 from the Los Angeles Kings' off-season B team.”
“Why is François Legault proposing something so absurd and illogical? Because he escaped the Quebec region,” insisted Mr. Duhaime at a press conference, alluding to the setback suffered by the CAQ in Jean-Talon during the last by-election.
“ They know that they have plummeted in voting intentions and there they are trying to find a “meaning” and what they have done is to try to buy the world with a special match of a B team from Los Angeles.
“I am not convinced that the population will take the bait of the Coalition Avenir Québec,” he said.
Respondent to the argument according to which it was necessary to “invest in leisure”, Mr. Duhaime maintained that young people in Quebec could have benefited from increased funding for their sporting activities.