Politics - Federal

Taxpayers Federation Dings Harper on Arena

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 13, 2010

Well this is fun: the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling out Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his government's plan to spend $180 million on a new hockey arena in Quebec City.

The Taxpayers Federation, a conservative think tank and lobby group, has launched a campaign against the federal government's precedent-setting decision to embrace exactly the kind of pork-barreling he once decried from the opposition bench.

When the former Liberal government proposed professional hockey subsidies back in 2000, then President of the National Citizen's Coalition Stephen Harper had this to say: "Canadians are being forced to subsidize millionaire hockey team owners and that's a misconduct."

Harper now claims that there's a difference between subsidizing a team owner and paying for the arena in which a team plays: a ridiculous distinction that won't pass anyone's smell test, given how sophisticated sports team owners have gotten about bullying governments into buying them new facilities.

The juiciest bit comes at the end:

t's time to tell Stephen Harper to STOP his reckless spending agenda. It's time for a return to the sound reforms and balanced budgets of the 1990s and early 2000s.

That would be the 1990s and early 2000s when the Liberal Party was in power.

But the fun doesn't end there. The investor who wants to bring a hockey team back to Quebec, Pierre Karl Péladeau, is the same investor pushing to establish "Fox News North", a conservative propaganda network, in Canada.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 09:08:02

It's all part of the plan. We are supposed to be consumers, not citizens.

The concept of 'true patriot love' is reduced to sloganeering for Tim Horton's and NHL Hockey.

A nation blessed with more natural beauty, more resources, and as innovative and well educated people as any other in the planet, and the only projects of any significance we can afford to do are for private professional sports teams???

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2010 at 09:20:34

It's all part of the plan. We are supposed to be consumers, not citizens.

Regarding arienc's comment, this post of mine, germane to the general discussion, methinks: http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/2010/0...

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2010-09-13 08:21:33

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 09:27:42

In this case, though, the billionaire (prospective) hockey owner in question is fronting millions of dollars to open a TV network with the stated aim of pushing the government party's agenda 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. This is a straightforward payoff, and simply the way business is done in Canada.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:42:50

So I guess if Quebec can get federal/provincial money for a new hockey stadium, we can forgoe the Pan Am games, put a little more thought into this 'new stadium' thing, find a better mutually agreed on locaiton, and then ask the government to fund part of it.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:48:34

and then ask the government to fund part of it.

The government is funding part of it.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 11:18:55

This is another part of the problem. We are taught from a very young age to tend look at 'the government' as some amorphus blob which is completely seperate from us. "It's the government's job". "Let the government pay for it."

What we often forget is that "the government" is us. And when 'our' priorities are consumerism and entertainment, that's exactly what we should expect from government.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2010 at 11:22:09

nobrainer, but they are paying part of it as part of the Pan Am games. From what Harper has said last week, there is the option of them paying for this without some games as the catylist.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 11:26:09

Yeah, all we need is for Bob Young to start planning to launch a right-wing TV network to promote Stephen Harper's agenda 24/7 and we'll get all the funding we need. :P

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By Dennis Wharton (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 12:32:04

Paladeau's got all the money he needs to build an arena himself. If he needs other investors, by all means feel free to give him as much of your own money that you want. BUT STAY OUT OF MY WALLET. - I don't ask you to pay for my toys, don't expect me to pay for his or yours.

Building NHL or Pan AM or Olypmic stadiums is not governance.

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By NoSugarAdded (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 13:08:11

Was not Balsillie going to pay the $200 mil reno costs for Copp’s himself? Maybe he should have had the taxpayers build a new one and we would have a team!

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2010 at 01:02:03

Yet another reason the Taxpayer's Federation is my favourite conservative think tank. Glad somebody's bringing this stuff up.

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By brian (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 01:30:38

"Was not Balsillie going to pay the $200 mil reno costs for Copp’s himself? Maybe he should have had the taxpayers build a new one and we would have a team!"

actually he was going to try get government money....

The Hamilton Spectator reports Balsillie has said he will sign a lease of up to 32 years and provide additional money for the renovation project, the rest of the funds would likely come from government sources

Toronto star

"The BlackBerry billionaire would foot the bill for initial upgrades, estimated at about $30 million, to get the arena ready for a team. But when it comes to a long term overhaul of the city-owned facility, which could cost upwards of $150 million, he'd ask Hamilton to seek government assistance to cover the balance."

He was just going to pay to get Copps "NHL Ready"..the rest he wanted covered by the government..over 100 million plus.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2010 at 01:20:19

Nobrainer said:"Yeah, all we need is for Bob Young to start planning to launch a right-wing TV network to promote Stephen Harper's agenda 24/7 and we'll get all the funding we need. :P"

Thanks NoBrainer, for that! :)

Just what we Need! Another 'objective' ? media source. :}

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