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Harper backtracks on federal funding of Quebec City arena

Quebec NordiquesLess than a week after opening the door to federal funding of a new Quebec City arena, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper walked back any commitment on his part, saying tight budgets should prevent such spending.

Harper’s original comments, made with a group of Conservative MPs trying to peel away votes in Quebec, gave initial support to spending upwards of C$175M in federal funds on a new Quebec City arena to replace Le Colisee. The total cost of the arena is estimated at C$400M, with city and provincial governments stepping up to fund 55 percent of the cost. A new arena could lure the NHL back to the Canadian province; it could also serve as the cornerstone of a 2022 Winter Olympics bid.

Opening the door to Quebec City arena funding would also open the door to the federal government funding new arenas in Edmonton and Calgary and renovations in Winnipeg and Hamilton. Faced with the prospect of committing billions to arena construction — albeit in a hockey-crazy nation — Harper decided to pull back after receiving serious criticism within his own party.

RELATED STORIES: Could new Quebec arena open doors for federal spending on arenas? ; Province will pay up to 45 percent of new Quebec City arena; Quebec City on verge of new arena, return of NHL?

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