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Quebec Solidaire MP Vincent Marissal (Archive photo)
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Québec solidaire will ask the Auditor General of Quebec to investigate the envelope of 5 to 7 million dollars intended to attract the Los Angeles Kings to Quebec next year to play preparatory games at the Videotron Center.
During a telephone interview with The Canadian Press, the solidarity MP for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal, was stunned by the revelations in the daily La Presse, Saturday morning, according to which the CAQ government used the Capitale-Nationale Region Fund (FRCN), which finances projects of community and non-profit organizations in particular.
Journalist Tommy Chouinard revealed on Saturday that this fund has been increased by the necessary amount and that this expenditure will be spread over two years since the value of normally authorized projects cannot exceed three million dollars.
We learned in La Presse that there were all kinds of tricks to release funds that were not at all intended for that, that we did that by decree, in hiding place, and that we do this over two years so that it passes, explains Mr. Marissal, still absent from the National Assembly due to convalescence.
The MP does not hesitate to say that this looks like a misuse of public funds for non-legitimate purposes.
It's worrying when the government starts fiddling with public funds for a whim of the Prime Minister who really likes hockey.
A quote from Vincent Marissal, solidarity MP for Rosemont
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The deputy in solidarity with Maurice-Richard, Haroun Bouazzi, will also table a motion in the National Assembly at the beginning of next week to ask the government to back down on its controversial investment.
It’s the only thing to do, underlines Vincent Marissal. Frankly, it's shameful, it's inexplicable and it doesn't make common sense. Let it [the government] back down: that’s the only thing to do. This is what the population is asking for. I won't give up.
His colleague Étienne Grandmont believes he is facing a government which seems to have lost all its moral and ethical benchmarks. The MP is outraged to see that the money planned for the Kings' preparatory matches in Quebec is not being used for food banks. I went to see Le Pignon bleu not long ago. They also need money. They need money to feed children who do not have breakfast in the morning, insists the MP for Taschereau.
I don't understand how we can take this money which will be used to make millionaires play on skates, who work for billionaires in their offices in California.
A quote from Étienne Grandmont, deputy in solidarity with Taschereau
The Quebec Liberal Party is also stunned by the measure announced by Minister Éric Girard on Wednesday.
There is no more room for maneuver in the state coffers. We learned this morning that to subsidize the two NHL preparatory matches in Quebec, the Legault government is using a regional fund for projects of businesses and local non-profit organizations, the FRCN, recalled the leader interim Marc Tanguay in a long message on the X network (ex-Twitter).
Quebec did not finance NHL games at the Videotron Center in 2017 and 2018. Recently, the government of Nova Scotia also spent nothing on the Pittsburgh Penguins' visit to Halifax. By spending $7 million of Quebecers' money in this way, do you consider François Legault still on the cow's field? concluded the member for LaFontaine.
In order to give a gift of $5 to $7 million to hockey billionaires, the government used a fund intended for local non-profit organizations (the "National Capital Region Fund") which it short-circuited the operating rules. Is this a prudent use of public funds? With the required transparency? Are we appealing to the intelligence of the people of Quebec and Quebec? It’s up to them to judge, wrote Mr. Paradis, whose text was shared by his boss, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
In the opening speech of the convention of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Saturday morning, leader Éric Duhaime asked that all documents, meetings, contracts on this subject are made public by the government.
They did not respect any rules. They respected nothing, without any transparency, he lamented, citing the text by Tommy Chouinard.
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Éric Duhaime delivers a speech at the opening of the convention of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Saturday, in Lévis.
It is indecent what is happening now. Rarely have we seen a government so insensitive to the reality of Quebec, lamented Mr. Duhaime, who underlined the irony that the announcement by Finance Minister Eric Girard took place in the middle of negotiations with the public sector and just days after an economic update where he warned of difficult months ahead.
I'm not a unionist, but I'm tired of seeing the government waste money and then say it doesn't “There is no money for people who cannot afford groceries and pay their employees,” he raged.
At a request for an interview, the spokesperson for the Minister of Finance Éric Girard as well as that of the minister responsible for this fund and the Capitale-Nationale region, Jonatan Julien, responded that they would not comment on this matter for the moment. We have not received a response from the office of Prime Minister François Legault.
With information from Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press