Economic minister won’t rule out bailout for F1 race
If it makes cold economic sense for taxpayers to bail out the Grand Prix du Canada, the Quebec government is willing to help, Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand said Tuesday.
On his way out the door to join Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay and former Conservative Minister Michael Fortier on a rescue mission to London, England, to meet Formula One guru Bernie Ecclestone, Bachand said he has been combing over the numbers associated with the event for a week now.
Refusing to show his cards on what amount he would be willing to pour in before the meeting, Bachand made it clear any government help has to make sense.
"If we are able to reasonably and responsibly save this event, we will do it," Bachand said. "We are not wasting our time in going there.
"The Grand Prix is a big event, it's the biggest tourism event, but how much does it bring in concretely, not only in spinoffs but in cash in our pockets as citizens, as taxpayers?
"So, if we do a business deal, how much is it worth? How much trouble is it worth? I am starting to get some pretty reliable numbers. We are going so I won't answer your question. I am going to negotiate with Mr. Ecclestone so we will keep our cards to ourselves. We'll be there 24 hours and after that it will be a pleasure to answer your questions."
Bachand said he had a long meeting with Fortier, Tremblay and local Grand Prix officials in Montreal Monday and asked a lot of questions.
"How much cash does this really bring in the treasury for citizens? If the conditions are financially responsible we'll save this event. If they're totally unreasonable we're in trouble.
"It's a very economic decision. If you organize an event which brings me $10 and I give you $2 or $3 or $1 for an event which brings me $10, it's good decision for taxpayers." National Post