Participation in the Nordic: not in priorities, says Couillard

present-ceremonie-inauguration-amphitheatre-quebecA financial participation of the state in the proposed return of the Quebec Nordiques is not in the government’s priorities, said the Prime Minister Philippe Couillard.

Present at the inauguration ceremony of the amphitheater of Quebec, Mr. Couillard said Tuesday at a press conference, that this assumption was not in priorities.

“I have not talked help, I spoke of a hypothetical participation, he has said. (…) It is not in the priorities we have, the priorities we are different, you saw all the needs that society expresses. There are many other needs to be met before that. ”

After last year already mentioned the possibility of a partnership with the condition of a return on investment of taxpayers, Mr. Couillard found that the conglomerate Quebecor, which obtained the management of the amphitheater until 2040 did not ask.

“If one day the government, and it does not seem necessary from what I hear, was to be part of it would have to be paid to the government and taxpayers as well, he has said. Now, having said that, what I hear makes me think that the private sector is able to take this adventure in hand. If there is one place we will be contributing but not blindly. ”

Asked about the possibility that the state do “something” for the return of the Nordiques, Mr. Couillard said that the government has already subsidized half of the construction costs of the building.

“The something is there, he said, pointing to the brand new ice rink and bleachers that were derrrière him. There is $ 200 million of public funds, all Quebec taxpayers. ”

In late August, the Liberals accused the PQ leader Pierre Karl Péladeau, Quebecor controlling shareholder, for being placed in a situation of conflict of interests when he said he was leaving the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a Crown corporation, decide whether it would be profitable to join the project of return of the Nordiques.

On Tuesday, Mr. Couillard said that the Caisse has the independence to choose its investments.

“Me I do not give any instructions to the Caisse de dépôt et placement as you know,” said he said.

Before Mr. Couillard, President and CEO of Quebecor, Pierre Dion, said Tuesday that the company, the amphitheater manager, has the resources to do only the possible acquisition of a concession National Hockey League.

Mr. Dion, who thanked Mr. Péladeau for his involvement in the beginnings of the project, noted, however, that once the transaction is completed, the company could decide to enlist partners while retaining financial control on team.

“We will decide later if we want financial partners, if this is the right” timing “and if these are the right conditions for financial partners,” he said.

At a press conference in the new building for $ 370 million, Mr. Dion said that the NHL has not given any timetable for its expansion process in which the company is committed optimistic this summer .

“It could be that the National League asked other documents in the coming weeks, he has said. The National League has not given any time in relation to this process. And you know, it’s a potential project expansion, this is not official that he will actually be there in the end people will obtain a franchise. ”

Although no team in the new arena, the activities of the installation are viable, Mr. Dion said. The government and the municipality equally funded the construction of the building, whose objective was to get a NHL team after the removal of the Nordiques in 1995.

“Naturally, if a professional club in addition to that, we will become one of the busiest arenas in North America, because we have the Nordics, the Remparts, the shows,” he has said.

During the press conference, the mayor of Quebec Régis Labeaume, who won 80 percent of votes when he was elected in 2009, a true referendum on the draft, said that the most difficult period for him has been the legal challenge project.

“It was very difficult, it’s been very, very, very hard,” he has said.

Mr. Labeaume took advantage of the event to apologize to the PQ leader Pauline Marois former and his Agnès Maltais MP, for the leadership of the PQ crisis caused by the private bill that he had claimed to put the management contract with Quebecor immune from prosecution.

“At Ms. Marois and Agnès Maltais who lived some painful moments, underestimated surprising, in this folder there, and I apologize again to Ms. Marois,” he has said.

After the press conference, just before going to a party closed to the media, which was attended including Mr. Péladeau, former Premier Jean Charest, who has accepted the financing of the project by the government, said he had to overcome the resistance of some members of his caucus as well.

“In our group also, people were questioning, there was not a very clear recommendation of the public service, he has said. But what had really convinced us is that we had a partner who had a lot of confidence with Mr. Labeaume. ”

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