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Peladeau candidacy won’t hurt Quebec City’s NHL bid: Mayor

QUEBEC CITY – Liberal leader Philippe Couillard believes Pierre Karl Peladeau’s refusal to sell his Quebecor shares raises ethical questions, and could possibly break Quebec City’s dream of attracting an NHL team.

“One is mixing a business transaction with partisan politics even in a party that advocates the break-up of Canada,” said Couillard.

“So all this together I don’t think will give a very nice smell out there.”

READ MORE: Quebec Liberals react to Peladeau’s jump into politics with attack ad

Peladeau was a major force in the push to build an amphitheatre and bring a hockey team to the capital.

Couillard said that he thinks the media tycoon’s decision to align with a separatist party puts the project in jeopardy.

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Couillard was campaigning in Quebec City for a third time since the election was called.

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The Liberals are competing with the right-leaning Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) for seats.

Hockey is no laughing matter; Quebec City taxpayers are shelling out more than $200 million for a new amphitheatre.

“I’m very disappointed,” Quebec City resident Johanne Prévost told Global News.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Quebec team. Maybe we’ll never see a new team or maybe people will react and won’t go to games so it’s going to be a big loss for Quebec.”

“It seems strange that Pierre-Karl Péladeau is presenting himself in politics because it’s a little conflictual,” said Benoît Jacques.

“I don’t think (Gary) Bettman even knows there’s a sovereignist movement in Quebec,” argued Jacques Péloquin.

“These folks are there for the money so if they see a hockey team and they see money to be made there, they’ll come and have a team.”

On Monday, Peladeau tried to be reassuring, saying he has complete faith in the team at Quebecor.

“This is a public company managed by a board of directors,” he told reporters.

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“We have strong and talented people like former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Françoise Bertrand, Pierre Laurin, so this is a business Quebecor has always managed properly.”

His ally, Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume, applauded his decision to enter politics.

“This is good for democracy, it’s good for the society, we need that kind of people in politics,” he said, adding he’s confident negociations with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will go on, regardless of Peladeau’s new-found taste for partisan politics.

“Every decision they make is based on dollars, business, profit. They don’t care about politics, that’s it.”

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