CALGARY – While the Edmonton Oilers are pushing forward to get a new arena, the Calgary Flames are still campaigning for a new one of their own within the next three to five years.
However, the issue is raising the question – should tax dollars be used to make these projects happen when so many other priorities go unfunded?
Alberta Tory leadership candidates weighed in on the issue during their final debate Wednesday night but all three passed the puck to the municipal government.
“If they wanted to use MSI dollars to build arenas, LRT or tunnels under roads, that’s what they are going to make the decision on and you can hold them accountable to that. The government of Alberta should not be writing a check to a hockey team,” said Doug Horner.
Alison Redford had a similar notion.
“At the end of the day, it has to be a municipal decision.”
Mar fired back.
“The very sensible people that elect Alison Redford in the city of Calgary have the good sense to elect Naheed Nenshi as the mayor of the city.”
When it comes to the sense and sensibilities of Mayor Naheed Nenshi: “not a great time to ask for money because we don’t have any money.”
Calgarians appear to share the opinion. The 2011 Ipsos Reid Canada’s Pulse poll commissioned for Global News indicates only two per cent strongly agree with using taxpayer money to help fund a new arena, 13 per cent somewhat agreed.
An overwhelming 85 per cent were against the idea and 59 per cent say they are strongly opposed.
“We have received no request from the Flames and I have committed to the Flames that I will look at whatever they may or may not come up with an open mind,” says Nenshi.
“With that said, we have a lot of priorities in this city and I have never been a fan of that kind of infrastructure.”
With tough budget cuts already on his agenda, Nenshi says if more provincial money becomes available, the Flames will have to get in line like everyone else.