Thursday, June 14, 2007

Taxpayer cash for NHL team - Manitoba Liberals nay, Ontario Liberals yea?

I'm sure Jason Cherniak could find a way to justify this - I sure as hell can't.  From the beginning of the manoeuvering to acquire and move the Nashville Predators, the thing that didn't seem to be missing was money. Jim Balsillie was throwing down 240 million US dollars to acquire a team worth far less than that, having failed in a 175 million offer for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Meanwhile, in the Manitoba Provincial Election, the Manitoba Liberals decried the Tories pledge to assist the bringing of a team back to Winnipeg, and the NDP's assertion that they would be more likely to make it happen sooner, better etc. No money mentioned (directly anyway), but Bob McCown ridiculed it as a stunt on the FAN590. All very principled by the Libs but you could understand in a way that in an underpopulated province like Manitoba it might take government grease to make it happen.

Not in Ontario, though. Not in the Golden Horseshoe. Not with deposits for season tickets already rolling in. Right?
PETERBOROUGH (CP)–Premier Dalton McGuinty says he would consider giving some financial help to Hamilton if it lands an NHL team. According to reports, billionaire Jim Balsillie would make Hamilton home if he buys and then moves the Nashville Predators.

McGuinty says the government would "seriously consider" a funding proposal if Hamilton were to get a team.
Let's not forget this is the same Premier who talks about the environment while giving autosector handouts to makers of muscle cars. The 2.5 million claimed by Hamilton booster Ron Foxcroft as the catchment for the team is twice the population of the entirety on Manitoba in a miniscule fraction of the land area. The Globe reports $6.25million in season ticket and corporate box deposits for a team that essentially doesn't yet exist. These are the guys the Ontario Liberals wants to help?

If McGuinty wants to help Hamilton, he should bring bread - in the form of jobs for those who used to be steelworkers, not subsidise circuses who already have enough money to get on with. But there's an election coming, he has seen what being against the populist side gets you (no seat gain) and wants to look like a good guy in Hamilton, increasingly an NDP region.

Just remember this when McGuinty says there's no way we can abolish the Health Tax. There's four months to go to election day and there will be plenty more handouts promised by then.
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