Reason number 3,254 Toronto doesn’t get federal money: we already have a mediocre NHL team

Reason number 3,254 Toronto doesn’t get federal money: we already have a mediocre NHL team

There’s a minor commotion in la belle province. It appears Quebec City is going to build a new arena in the hopes of bringing an NHL team back (the Nordiques left for Colorado in the 1990s). If that were the whole story, this item wouldn’t be interesting to anyone outside of Quebec and precious few inside, but it looks like Quebec City has managed to get something for its arena that Toronto can’t get for pretty much anything: cash from Stephen Harper.

The Globe and Mail has the story:

Conservative MPs and ministers from Quebec donned vintage Nordiques sweaters in a show of support for a proposed $400-million arena in Quebec City that depends on Ottawa for nearly half of its funding.

The plans for a new Colisée, which is essential to getting an NHL team back in the provincial capital, poses a major political challenge for the Harper government. Ottawa has rejected calls to fund sports infrastructures in other cities across Canada, and stands to face a backlash over a $180-million expenditure in an era of cost-cutting.

Still, the Conservatives appeared open to the proposal on Wednesday, one day after the provincial government agreed to pay 45 per cent of the costs. The mayor of Quebec City, Régis Labeaume, has made the project his No. 1 priority and is working hard to get matching funds from Ottawa.

Ottawa seems inclined to open up the wallet for Quebec largely because there’s actually a chance that the Tories will get a extra seat or three in the city—a promise that Toronto can’t really make without giggling. The funny thing is that Harper once railed against federal subsidies for NHL franchises, back when the Liberals did it.

There’s also the small matter of Toronto already having an NHL team that conspicuously fails to win the Stanley Cup (the Nordiques also failed to do so year after year). What could we do to lure federal dollars down to these parts? How about if we use Transit City to invent a new sport.  Streetcar drag races, anyone?

• Quebec City NHL bid scores support from federal Tories [Globe and Mail]
• Scott Stinson: Quebec puts the arena before the horse [National Post]
• Quebec City arena plan should be iced [Montreal Gazette]
Quebec to pay 45% NHL-ready arena [Toronto Sun]
• Optics offside in arena gambit [National Post]