MONTREAL -- The federal government could chip in cash to build an NHL-ready arena in Quebec City now that Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau is on board, Conservative MP Maxime Bernier said Tuesday.
Bernier said that while it’s too early to say for sure if the Conservative government will commit money to the facility, “the government will be pleased to study” a possible partnership with Peladeau, the province and the municipal government.
Peladeau, whose Quebecor Media empire includes QMI Agency, formally submitted a proposal of tens of millions of dollars to Quebec City in hopes of partnering with the city on a $400-million arena and civic centre.
The building would be necessary if the city hopes to lure back an NHL hockey team. Fans in the provincial capital have been grieving the departure of their beloved Nordiques for nearly 16 years. Bernier told reporters that Peladeau’s weekend announcement is “good news.”
“We’ll let (cabinet) handle the file, but the government would be pleased to study the proposed offers,” he said.
Quebec City and the province of Quebec have pledged 45% of the estimated cost of the new rink. All of the Conservative government’s Quebec seats are in the Quebec City region and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority government could have much to gain by footing the remainder of the arena bill.
Harper hasn't ruled out federal involvement but has said the private sector should intervene first.
Conservative MPs from Quebec have publicly supported the arena project, donning Nordiques jerseys during a caucus retreat last summer.
The public display caused an outcry in the rest of the country, where other cities such as Regina and Edmonton are also looking for millions to update their sports venues.
Bernier, a staunch fiscal conservative, declined to take part in the photo opportunity.
Quebecor is the parent company of QMI Agency.