No to the arena, yes to the airport
Posted by Andrew Chung, Quebec Bureau Chief
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making a lightning visit to Quebec City today, stopping only at the Jean Lesage International Airport to announce an investment in the airport itself.
The Quebec media is characterizing the visit as a seduction operation in the wake of the Harper government's refusal to put cash into Quebec City's plan to build a new arena in the hopes of luring back an NHL team to the city. Some are questioning the speed with which Ottawa came up with the cash, said to be $50-million, for an expansion to the airport, last graced with a new terminal in 2008.
But if the government is trying to make Quebec City residents forget about the arena snub, it won't be easy. A poll published last Monday by Léger Marketing showed that the issue has cost the Tories support in their Quebec stronghold.
The Bloc québécois is now in front with 36 per cent of voting intentions, versus 25 per cent for the Conservatives, 19 per cent for the NDP and 16 per cent for the Liberals. The Tories dropped nine percentage points in one month.
Not surprising given that 72 per cent of those polled in the Quebec City region disagreed with the government's decision not to fund the coliseum, while 22 per cent agreed. (This opinion is not shared Quebec-wide. Fifty-nine per cent of Montrealers agree with the decision.)
The poll of 1005 people in Quebec was conducted between March 7-10 and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.