Skip to main content

Quebec city mayor Regis Labeaume gestures during a press conference as Pierre-Karl Peladeau, CEO of Quebecor, looks on at city hall in Quebec City Tuesday March 1, 2011. Paladeau and Labeaume discussed the details of Quebecor investment as private partner in a new arena. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Francis Vachon

Francis Vachon/CP

So it turns out that Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume won't get his wish - at least not yet.

The colourful Labeaume had been pressing the provincial National Assembly to pass a law insulating the arena management contract his administration signed with Quebecor a few weeks ago from vexatious lawsuits.

Though the opposition Parti Quebecois agreed to sponsor such a bill, it would have required unanimous consent to be tabled given the deadline for private member's legislation has passed.

Story continues below advertisement

Independent MNA Eric Caire - and another former Action democratique MNA, Marc Picard - have refused to give their consent, so that's it until the legislature opens a new session in the fall.

The move is a repudiation of sorts for Labeaume, who argued that a threatened lawsuit by a former city manager (who is contesting the legality of the contract) would scare off the NHL, which is the subject of a lobbying campaign by Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau to put a team to the $400 million arena that is scheduled for completion in 2015.

The National Assembly machinations won't derail the construction process, but it will give new life to opponents - the provincial municipal affairs department believes that some aspects of the deal may in fact violate Quebec law.

At issue is a legal device aimed at splitting up the various elements of the leasing arrangements - concert promotion, concessions, etc.

Provincial government lawyers believe the arrangement between the city and Quebecor should have beem subjected to a public tendering process, and that breaking up the components of the contract is an attempt to skirt that process.

The city's lawyers, unsurprisingly, disagree vehemently, and insist the proposed contract is perfectly legal.

It's not to say that this will end up in court, or that it will jeopardize the arena project even if it does (the province has already committed to funding the project), but it is clearly a short-term setback for Labeaume.

Story continues below advertisement

He had cited the need to reassure the NHL about legal roadblocks being thrown up, a la Phoenix.

This isn't a roadblock - after all, the ruling Liberals have a majority and could pass the law next fall if the disagreements can be ironed out - but it's certainly a speed bump that will slow this thing down.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at