Monday, September 13, 2010

The big backtrack

Spin for your lives! Hockey arena? Harper was all "who said anything about a hockey arena" today. From CBC:
Speaking to reporters in Sept-Îles on Monday, the prime minister said his government has been clear that professional sports are important to communities but are "first and foremost the responsibility of the private sector."
Clear as mud! Not what they've led people to believe, this brouhaha is not a backlash to private sector funding after all. Here was Harper himself on September 1st:
“I hope that we’ll see the Nordiques return,” Harper said in French. “We have discussed this with (Quebec Mayor Regis Labeaume) and we will continue those discussions.”
Sounded like full speed ahead at that point from the head honcho. I see the federal government, I see the Quebec City government, I don't see any mention of private types. Stockwell Day's people said the same thing, the federal government was considering funding an arena.
A Day staffer said a proposal for arena funding is being prepared and will be considered by the federal government.
The discussion has just not included the private sector in the "first and foremost" role, as the PM put it today.

And what's this? Suddenly a sense of fairness in infrastructure considerations?
"If there is to be any role for the federal government, first of all, that role would have to be equitable across the country, treat everybody the same, and it also has to be affordable, recognizing that this country is going to be moving into a period of fiscal restraint," Harper said.
If only all the infrastructure funds had been so applied. But that's been proven not to be the case, time and again.

The dalliance is out there and who knows how it is yet to be resolved, despite the apparent backtracking Harper is madly engaged in. This episode has raised questions about frivolous, foolhardy fiscal judgment once again.