For those considering whether to invest public money that would aid a Canadian NHL franchise

by Aaron Wherry

With an official request now on record that the federal government contribute public money for the purposes of building a hockey arena that would conceivably aid in returning an NHL team to Quebec City, here is the text of two media advisories which were issued, three days apart, in January 2000.

The first was sent out January 18. That day, industry minister John Manley announced a subsidy plan meant to aid Canada’s struggling NHL franchises. Three days later, amid much consternation, the Liberal government of the day scrapped the proposal. The second release was issued in response to that reversal.

To wit.

NCC says NHL tax subsidy a puck in the face for taxpayers
Canada News-wire
Tue Jan 18 2000, 1:57pm ET

TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ – The National Citizens’ Coalition says today’s federal government decision to subsidize Canada’s NHL hockey teams is a puck in the face to Canadian taxpayers.

“Canadians are being forced to subsidize millionaire hockey team owners and that’s a misconduct,” says NCC president Stephen Harper. “It’s a policy which hurts taxpayers and won’t help pro hockey. After all, giving the Ottawa Senators a few million tax dollars just means they might be able to sign a second string winger.” Harper says the way to help the NHL in Canada is not with subsidies.

“What the government should be doing,” says Harper, “is creating more favourable conditions for all Canadian companies to compete globally. The problem is not that our hockey teams can’t compete, it’s that our economy can’t compete. Adding more subsidization to our economy only makes the problem worse.” Harper says rather than singling out one industry for special treatment the government should be cutting taxes and implementing other policies which reward economic effort and productivity.

***

NCC happy hockey bail out scrapped
Canada News-wire
Fri Jan 21 2000, 12:59pm ET

TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ – The National Citizens’ Coalition says it’s delighted that public outrage has forced the federal government to drop its plan to negotiate subsidy arrangements for Canada’s NHL teams.

“The taxpayers have scored a goal in overtime,” says NCC president Stephen Harper. “It shows that when the Canadian public makes enough noise the government will listen. Never forget that.”     On Tuesday, the NCC denounced the proposed bailout plan calling it a “puck in the face for taxpayers.”

“Before Prime Minister Jean Chretien is let out of the political penalty box he should admit that he was wrong and stop trying to shift the blame to the provinces and cities,” says Harper. “Unlike their federal counterparts, municipal and provincial leaders realized that taxpayers would not support a plan to give millions of dollars to NHL hockey teams.” Harper says instead of bailing out hockey teams the government should concentrate on general tax relief and making Canada’s economy more competitive.




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