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QUEBEC CITY: CANADA'S NEXT SMALL-MARKET CRISIS?
Published May 4, 1995
The Quebec provincial government said it will "bail out the financially strapped" Nordiques and build a new arena, "but only if it becomes a shareholder and the club agrees to a cap on spending," according to Rheal Seguin in today's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau said the province would not "inject funds" into any team without having some control over how those funds are used. As a partial owner, the government would get its money back if the team is sold. Parizeau noted this is the government's second offer to buy an interest in the team. The first offer was turned down by Nordiques President Marcel Aubut. Parizeau gave no indication of what percentage the Province seeks or how much money was offered. Aubut has "demanded" that the Province build a new arena that the team could use rent-free. Aubut also wants the government to assume the club's operating debt for whatever time it takes to build the new arena. If those conditions are not met by May 15, Aubut will sell the team. He reportedly has a $75M offer from Comsat in Denver (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/4). STRATEGY? Key to Aubut's strategy, according to Seguin, is his belief that the Parti Quebecois government will not "jeopardize its referendum chances by allowing the Nordiques to leave Quebec." And although Aubut has talked about selling the team, "many believe" that he is not willing to give up control (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/4).