Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

The aid offered by Quebec to the Kings will be maintained

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The team of CAQ elected officials is “more united than ever,” assured François Legault on Thursday, the day after a caucus meeting intended to calm discontent on Wednesday evening.

  • Jérôme Labbé (View profile)Jérôme Labbé

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The day after an “emotional” caucus, the elected representatives of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) all respected the party line on Thursday by voting against an opposition motion calling for the cancellation of the subsidy offered to the Kings of Los Angeles to come and play two preparatory matches in the Old Capital in 2024.

Even those who had publicly expressed reservations about last week's announcement spoke out with the government, including Luc Provençal (Beauce-Nord) and Éric Girard (Lac-Saint-Jean), who declared Tuesday that the The aid of five to seven million dollars offered by Quebec was contrary to their values.

Tabled Wednesday, the motion stipulated in particular that the National Assembly requests to the CAQ government to cancel the subsidy granted for the holding of two preseason games of the Los Angeles Kings and to better respond to the crying needs in many sectors in Quebec, particularly in the National Capital.

Thirty opposition elected officials voted for; Seventy-four government deputies voted against. No one abstained. Twenty-one elected officials were absent at the time of the vote, including sixteen CAQ members, but none known for their opposition to the coming of the Kings to the Videotron Center.

The controversy, which has only grown since last week's announcement, has been amplified by the negative reaction from Sport Québec, but also from other organizations and unions, all of which are demanding additional sums from the government. .

An article from La Presse revealing that, to provide the aid demanded by the Kings, the CAQ had used to the Capitale-Nationale Region Fund, also resonated with Québec solidaire, which asked the General Auditor to open an investigation.

In addition, the controversy has crystallized a certain discontent within the government caucus, already heated by the loss of Jean-Talon and by criticism relating to the management of major transport projects in Quebec, such as the 3rd link and the tramway.

Already, on Tuesday, Luc Provençal and Éric Girard (not to be confused with the Minister of Finance, who shares the same surname) had informed the parliamentary press that the subsidy to the Kings, a rich American hockey team, did not fit with their “values”.

Before them, other CAQ elected officials, like Geneviève Guilbault and Yannick Gagnon, had questioned the timingof the announcement, while Quebec is negotiating these days with the public sector and its room for maneuver is “tight”. Even Kings players expressed their unease.

According to a Pallas-L'Actualité survey, the Kings' troops François Legault have lost 10 percentage points in voting intentions since last week, mainly to the benefit of the Parti Québécois.

Questioned on the subject, CAQ elected officials like Marie-Louise Tardif and Youri Chassin admitted Wednesday that certain government decisions taken since the beginning of the fall may have created discontent among the population.

The government caucus met as it does every week, Wednesday evening, to take stock. According to our information, political advisors were not invited, so that elected officials could speak more freely.

Back at the National Assembly on Thursday, all the CAQ deputies questioned by the press said they were satisfied with the meeting. Prime Minister Legault even maintained that his troops were more united than ever and that the opposition parties should be jealous.

Only the MP for Drummond –Bois-Francs, Sébastien Schneeberger, allowed himself to evoke an emotional caucus, admitting that negotiations with the public sector put a lot of pressure on elected officials and their families. It’s not easy, he said. We're humans like everyone else, right.

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