Cornwall ON – It looks like the Prime Minister has stuffed the genie back into the bottle on the issue of funding for the Quebec arena. His comments last night in Quebec City should dampen expectations considerably.
The question remains why the issue even became public in this manner. Someone, was it the MPs or even PMO communications that miscalculated both the public reaction to funding arenas and the reaction from other municipalities across the country where there are funding issues for sports teams.
I doubt this was a miscalculation on the part of the Prime Minister. As best as I can recall, he has never been an advocate for funding assistance for professional sports teams. This gives some credence to Steven Blaney’s comment that the picture of the Quebec Conservative MPs in Nordiques colours was not vetted with PMO. If correct, then it was a very foolish move on their part. They had better ways to package this initiative and plenty of time to put a solid communications plan into force. Instead they have jumped the gun and it could prove to be a major mistake on their part.
No matter how popular a local issue this might be, the Quebec MPs should have known better than to blindside this Prime Minister and try to use local public opinion to box him into accepting their position. That simply doesn’t work and in the end they will be the losers in the war for his support. It’s always better to do things the right way and get PMO and the PM on side before pursuing any option that involves the use of taxpayer’s dollars, especially in a time of restraint.