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Kings in Quebec City: money from a fund for Quebec City NPOs
Credit: He enjoyed success with the Kings.

Since the beginning of the week, there’s been a lot of talk about the Quebec government’s announcement last Tuesday: part of the Los Angeles Kings’ training camp will be held in Quebec City next fall, with the club playing two games at the Centre Vidéotron.

That’s great news… until you consider that $5-7 million of public money has been invested in the project. In a context where the public sector is under negotiation, social acceptability is, at best, low, especially when you consider that it could be detrimental to the Nordiques’ comeback project.

That said, since the beginning of the week, we’ve been talking about “public funds” without really knowing where they come from.

This morning, Tommy Chouinard (La Presse) published an excellent article shedding light on where this money comes from, and according to what he learned, it comes from a fund used to finance non-profit organizations in the Capitale-Nationale region.

He cites day camps and a local curling club as examples.

What you need to know, however, is that theoretically, the government hasn’t dipped into money already allocated to this fund. In fact, it has increased it (on the sly) to finance the project over two years, but this does not affect the $25 million already allocated to the fund each year.

On the other hand, money from the fund normally goes through calls for tender before being distributed. In the case of the Kings, there was no call for tenders: it was simply given out.

So, we’re talking about a bonus (which the government says will not be recurrent) that came out of nowhere… and could really have been used for something else. Still according to the journalist, the money from this subsidy corresponds fairly well to the $8 million needed to subsidize food banks.

I put myself in the shoes of a local food bank, and I have to tell you, I’d have a real lump in my throat. I want to believe that “Quebec loves hockey”, as François Legault put it, but he certainly doesn’t love it at the price of using that money to the detriment of food banks, which meet a need that’s a lot more basic than a hockey game. And at a time when food banks are more in demand than ever, that’s a bad sign.

Tommy Chouinard notes that Éric Girard plans to hold a press conference this week to “set the record straight”. Let’s just say that with public opinion at the moment, it’s best to be prepared to answer some pretty tough questions.

I’m reposting his text HERE if you’d like to read it, because frankly, it’s worth it.

Clearly, then, the government is capable of quickly enhancing a fund to subsidize projects. Let’s hope it remembers this within the next few hours, so that these NPOs can keep their heads above water and meet some pretty vital needs, like feeding themselves.

In bursts

– It’s up to him to bounce back.

Sid the Kid isn’t slowing down.

– Love to hear this.

– NBA in-season tournament action recap.

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