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The PLQ demands the reimbursement of millions of public funds for the Kings

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “Am I the only one who finds the comparison ridiculous ? asked Liberal MP Frédéric Beauchemin on social media. Fewer seats in the amphitheater, ticket sales comparable to Quebec and, yet, $0 invested by the State of Utah! Eric Girard should apologize. It's embarassing. »

The Quebec government should demand reimbursement of millions of dollars in subsidies for Los Angeles Kings games in Quebec this year, the hockey club having agreed to play in Salt Lake City without support from the City nor the state of Utah, a liberal lawmaker said Monday.

Finance spokesperson, Frédéric Beauchemin said that the comparison between the two situations is “disconcerting”.

“With comparable ticket sales in Quebec, the total lack of investment from the State of Utah calls into question the CAQ’s funding priorities,” he said in a written statement. Eric Girard should recognize this disparity and rectify the situation by requesting a refund now. »

Ten days before playing in Quebec, the Kings will play a preparatory match in Salt Lake City as part of an agreement that does not provide for any expenditure of public funds on the part of the City or the Utah State, reported Monday La Presse.

Mr. Beauchemin pointed out that the Videotron Center, where the Kings will face the Boston Bruins and then the Florida Panthers on October 3 and 5, has 18,000 seats compared to 14,000 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

“Am I the only one who finds the comparison ridiculous ? the MP wondered on social media. Fewer seats in the amphitheater, ticket sales comparable to Quebec and, yet, $0 invested by the State of Utah! Eric Girard should apologize. It's embarassing. »

In the office of the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, who is responsible for the agreement, press secretary Claudia Loupret said that no comments would be made.

Last fall, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government found itself at the center of a controversy after Mr. Girard's announcement that a subsidy of $5 to $7 million would be used to cover the losses of Kings during the two games they will play in Quebec before the start of the National Hockey League (NHL) regular season.

This agreement was concluded with a subsidiary of the Quebecor conglomerate, Gestev, which is organizing the event. An external audit will then determine the final amount that the government will assume.

Mr. Girard's office did not want to specify the amount paid so far to Gestev. The decree confirming the agreement provided for a sum of 2.5 million during the 2023-2024 fiscal year and 4.5 million for 2024-2025.

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Incompetence of the government

PQ MP Pascal Paradis said the Salt Lake City case shows that it is possible to organize NHL events “without wasting public funds.”

“Quebec stands out for the wrong reasons: taxpayers pay hockey millionaires out of their own pockets while elsewhere, private promoters organize themselves,” he said in a written statement. Clearly, the Kings could have come without the government rushing to give them 5 to 7 million of our money. »

According to Mr. Paradis, this decision has all the more weight as the government has announced a larger deficit than expected and lacks money for public services.

“Double standards: the fast track and privileges for multinationals and billionaires, the obstacle course for ordinary people and people in vulnerable situations,” denounced the MP , PQ spokesperson for the Capitale-Nationale issues.

The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Alexandre Leduc, estimated that the agreement between the Kings and the City of Salt Lake City demonstrates the government's incompetence in this matter.

“Once again, we have demonstrated that the CAQ negotiates poorly and fails to obtain what is best for Quebec,” he said in a written statement. Now, this government must take responsibility for its bad financial decisions and stop putting the burden on the workers who carry our public services at arm's length. »

The leader of the Conservative Party, Éric Duhaime, insisted on the fact that Prime Minister François Legault had already warned that the budget which will be tabled on March 12 would be “largely in deficit”.

“There’s something completely clownish about it. We pass for “ti-counes”,” declared Mr. Duhaime at a press briefing in Quebec.

With The Canadian Press

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