Coderre wants to sign a blank cheque to MLB, says opponent Valerie Plante
Published Wednesday, September 27, 2017 1:47PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 27, 2017 7:16PM EDT
As the municipal campaign games continue, Projet Montreal candidate Valerie Plante was talking baseball.
The mayoral hopeful discussed the game, and plans to bring a major league team to Montreal on Tuesday, saying that if elected, she would hold a referendum about a baseball stadium in 2021.
Plante said if elected mayor, she would wait for the next election to hold a referendum on whether taxpayers would be in favour of using public funds to invest in that purpose.
"So far we know that Montrealers want to have a baseball team, they think it's a great idea. I do too. But when it's about spending the money, it's not that clear," said Plante.
She accused Mayor Denis Coderre of writing a blank cheque to Major League Baseball without consulting taxpayers.
"Because the negotiations are happening behind closed doors, we have no idea what the business plan is," she said. "We have no business plan in our hands and so we have no idea how much public money will be used. And this is what we’re asking for. We want to have transparency, we want to have accountability on that front as well. So our position is to welcome a team, but if there has to be public money invested, we need to ask Montrealers first."
Plante said her proposal wouldn’t delay baseball in any way, because the goal is to get a professional team and that team could use the Olympic Stadium should they need to.
On Wednesday Coderre said what he has said before: bringing a professional sports team to Montreal is a slow, painstaking process.
"For its part, the administration has put in place a baseball policy aimed at growing interest among youth and citizens for the sport, including a massive investment in baseball diamonds across Montreal."
Following Hurricane Irma, Coderre offered the Olympic Stadium as a venue for MLB games that were going to be postponed because of the storm, but the league declined.
Coderre has frequently courted the league, and a group of investors, including Mitch Garber, said in March they have five possible sites for a stadium, as well as government support for a team.
At the time Coderre quoted an Italian expression: whoever goes slowly goes safely and goes far.
On Monday at city council, Coderre declined to provide an amount when asked how much it would cost taxpayers to fund a stadium.
Meanwhile both Plante and Coderre faced questions about a poll on voter intentions.
Commissioned by Philippe Fournier of Qc125, a physics professor at Cegep du St. Laurent, the poll by Mainstreet Research showed that 41 percent of Montrealers are undecided about who to vote for.
30 percent said they favoured Team Denis Coderre, while 25 percent preferred Projet Montreal.
A mere three percent said they would vote for Coalition Montreal.
More than half of anglophones and allophones said they were uncertain who they would elect -- but those that did know were solidly behind Team Denis Coderre.
Francophones were much more evenly split, although they gave Projet Montreal a slight edge.
Among those aged 65 and older, who historically have been the most likely to vote, 46 preferred Coderre while only 15 percent liked Projet Montreal.
The poll sampled 500 people from Sept. 20 to 22, and has a margin of error of 4.38 percentage points 19 times out of 20.