John Manley urges Harper not to use public funds for pro sports teams

MONTREAL – Former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley has some advice for Prime Minister Stephen Harper about providing public funding for a new Quebec City arena: Don’t do it!

When he was in cabinet 10 years ago, Manley tried to get federal money to help NHL teams in Canada.

The idea was dropped because of public outrage, and Manley says he still has deep scars from that period of his political career.

After a speech in Montreal today, the former deputy prime minister told reporters that Canadians don’t want professional sports teams to be supported by public money.

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Manley is now president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

He says he would be very surprised if anything has changed in 10 years.

The Harper government is coming under pressure to fund nearly one-half of a $400-million arena in Quebec City to help bring the National Hockey League back to the city.