Businessman Stephen Bronfman was optimistic about the return of baseball to Montreal on Tuesday after a meeting with Mayor Valérie Plante. This, however, calls for a public update on the project before anything else.
Posted Dec 14 2021
“It will become something for Montreal. And it’s not just a baseball stadium, it’s a community center for Montreal, which will be operated 12 months a year. It’s going to be something magnificent, we’ll be able to give more to our city that we love so much. »
During his speech, a recording of which was sent to The Press by the firm of Valérie Plante, Mr. Bronfman also said he wanted to “revive a part of Montreal where there is not much going on”. He maintains that a “press conference” should be held in the coming months, after the holidays.
“We are not at that time when we can make big announcements or give details, because our work is still going on, but it will be soon”, he summarized, before adding: “There has plenty of balls still in the air, but there are fewer and fewer these days. We’re almost at the end. »
We’re going to be transparent, because that’s our style. That’s what Quebecers, Montrealers and Canadians want: to see how this project will affect our lives here, in Montreal.
The man who is at the head of the investment firm Claridge affirms that Mayor Plante was “very receptive” during the meeting, even speaking of a “very nice exchange”. “Everyone knows that this is a very good project for Montreal. We are all together, we all have the same vision. We have to work together. But it’s sure to work,” said Mr. Bronfman, smiling.
Plante wants a public update
Valérie Plante asked the Montreal Baseball Group on Tuesday to be transparent with Montrealers after the meeting with Mr. Bronfman. She affirms that her group has done “good work”, but that it must now publicly explain its intentions for the arrival of a baseball team in the metropolis.
There is enthusiasm, but the devil is in the details. We want a good project, the population is worried. And there is a concern that I share because this project must be socially and economically beneficial in the long term. I think that’s the biggest question.
Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal
A public update is “absolutely necessary”, hammered Mme Plant. “The next step for us is for the Baseball Group to update the population, to be able to talk about their project, their vision and also answer questions, she said in a press briefing. Because there are many. […] There are plenty of questions. »
The head of Projet Montréal says that she reiterated to Mr. Bronfman that “Montreal will not be the promoter of the return of baseball” and that “there will be no public money from Montrealers in this project, in the construction of a stadium.
Quebec cautious, the FCC is indignant
Asked about this on Monday, Prime Minister François Legault, who is studying the idea of a “zero cost” contribution for taxpayers, was cautious. “This project, it must be supported by the mayor, it is an important file in a neighborhood in full development”, he simply offered, speaking of the baseball stadium.
Early December, The Press reported that Mr. Bronfman’s team was asking Quebec City for a financial contribution of up to a few hundred million dollars for its baseball stadium project in Montreal. Almost all of these scenarios cost at least a hundred million dollars. One of the scenarios mentioned amounts to a contribution of around 300 million.
By calculating that Quebec expects “to obtain an average of $5,600 in income tax from each taxpayer this year”, such a subsidy “would be equivalent to the taxes of 54,000 Quebec taxpayers”, lamented Tuesday the Quebec director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), Renaud Brossard.
He says he has “a hard time believing that a billionaire’s stadium project is the best place to spend the tax money” of all these people, “especially when you consider the state of the health care system and the fact that Quebecers are still the most taxed on the continent”.
“Decades of economic research show us that taxpayers systematically lose when their governments subsidize stadium construction,” Brossard said. It is obvious that the government must reject this request and we do not understand why it takes so long to do so, ”he concluded.