Political eyes on Parliament Hill will be on this morning’s events in Quebec City, where mayor Régis Labeaume and Premier Jean Charest will announce plans for a new NHL-calibre arena.
What they won’t see is a reprise of September, when eight federal Conservative MPs from Eastern Quebec posed with their thumbs up in Quebec Nordiques jerseys. The feds aren’t invited to the party.
As The Globe and Mail reported Thursday, the deal is expected to see the Quebec government up its share of the project to 50 per cent and the city will cover the other half. Any extra funding that is found through private partners or the federal government would allow the city to scale back its contribution.
A lock-up for media is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. Thursday and a news conference will take place at 11:45.
In spite of repeated hints from Ottawa that there could be a federal contribution to the project, nothing appears imminent on that front. The lead Conservative minister for the Quebec City area – Josée Verner – says Ottawa is still waiting for a clear proposal. Only then, she says, can the government look at various programs to see where federal cash might come from.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Ms. Verner played down the fact that she was not invited. She noted that she spoke by phone with the city and the province earlier this week.
“That shows one thing,” she said, “which is that we are all working together.”