On your marks, get set, pay!


grid_girls_f1The entire time I lived in Montreal, I observed a simple but sacred rule: When the F1’s in town, I’m not. It wasn’t the race itself that made me flee to Quebec City or to a campground in Charlevoix; it was the people who attended the thing—and, more specifically, their compulsion to take over the city with their Merit Badges of Midlife Crisis. Needless to say, I didn’t mourn the F1’s disappearance from Montreal’s summer calendar.

Now, as if the F1, with its boorish fans and its creepy executives, could get any more obnoxious, a report in yesterday’s La Presse says it’s angling for a sweetheart deal from the federal government to help cushion its return to Montreal. Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s head honcho, has already secured a cool $75 million (over five years) from the provincial and municipal governments, but he’s now after written assurances from Revenue Canada he won’t have to pay any income tax on the cash. Ecclestone cryptically laid his cards out on the table last week, saying, “When I come back from Japan next week, I’m going to need final answers to all of our questions. If I don’t have them, there won’t be a grand prix in Montreal.”

So, if I’ve got this right, the billionaire owner of a racing franchise that appeals to showy millionaires is threatening Ottawa in order to avoid paying taxes on allocations from cash-strapped local governments. (Meanwhile, students pay taxes on scholarships. Go figure.) I’m trying to suppress my inner class warrior here—I really am. But I’ll be damned if I can understand why anyone wants this race badly enough they’re willing to bend over to make it happen.

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On your marks, get set, pay!

  1. Uh, from the Revenue Canada site you link to:

    "The full amount of scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries that are received by you as a student with respect to your enrolment in a program that entitles you to claim the education amount are not taxable and are no longer reported as income on your tax return."

  2. Surely the Grid Girls could help with your class-warrior thoughts.

  3. Wow, could you be anymore negative on F1 for Montreal?

    I agree Bernie Ecklestone is the Bernie Madoff of F1 fame and could not be anymore greedy.

    I doubt very much that Montreal will get the gig so ymost likely you will not have to migrate to Quebec City in June.

    But the event is good for the city and I have no idea why you would attack fans of F! as slayers of scholarships and suffering from midlife crises.

    You Sir are the boorish one with your insults and petulant assessment of a great event in Montreal.

    • The question shouldn't be whether or not it is good for Montreal, the question should be whether or not it worth $75 MM tax free over 5 years. Especially when the racing series is facing grumpy constructors, low attendance problems, cheating scandals, payoff scandals, and no foothold in North America. Boorish fans or not the Canadian Grand Prix was always well attended. I would rather CRA let Bernie stare into the abyss of empty stands at the next Turkish GP than give yet another sports businessman billionaire a tax break.

  4. I heard a news report that these sorts of subsidies are usually treated as tax-free by governments anyways, and Bernie just wants that in writing.

    And it's STILL wrong. But what's wrong is the subsidy in the first place. But, ahem, is there some reason people are so upset about only some subsidies without ever getting bothered by the theft inherent in the subsidy of all sorts of private sector ventures?

  5. I wonder if anyone's ever done a comparison of corporate welfare to individual welfare in Canada? It would be interesting to see it all laid out from the last thirty years or so.

      • You'd have to include all levels of government, for a complete picture. But certainly the most recent emergency stimulus spending shows we tend to view corporate welfare as somehow more effective or moral than individual forms, I'd argue.

  6. What?!?!?!

    Montreal doesn't need F1… Montreal isn't dead city, like Vancouver, that needs to put on a show to get people out in the streets… If F1 is allowed to go by the wayside, Montreal locals will replace it with with something cheaper and more vibrant…

    There are two whole, man-made islands waiting for creative input…

    Like Montgolfières. or a sailboat race…

    Don't bore me with your overpriced, European elitist spectacle…

    This is like Edscha… Europeans coming over, taking advantage of our public monies, and leaving without paying into the funds which made them…


    Look at how this German auto-parts firm used our tax monies to set up, then left the country without paying severance to their Canadian workers…

    Same thing in Montreal… where festivals are equivalent to Ontario's auto parts industry…

    I'm sick of it… Let's hold Edscha to its debt to our people (Don't buy another North American car until its $4+ million dollar debt is paid, and our fellow Canadians workers have their dignity back)

    And let's allow Montreal's artists, who know best how to get a crowd outside on the beautiful islands of Ste. Hélene and Notre-Dame to create a cheaper, more resonant show!!!

    Johanne Savoie
    implacable waitress

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