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Parti Quebecois hopes to stem legal challenges to new QC arena with new law

QUEBEC CITY, Que. - The Parti Quebecois wants to table legislation in defence of Quebec City's project to build a new arena.

The bill is aimed at quashing any possible future legal challenges against the city's financial arrangement with a building suitor.

The PQ is making the move after people questioned the legality of the arrangement between the city and media giant Quebecor.

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume said Monday he was pleased such a bill had been brought forward by PQ member Agnes Maltais, the local representative.

The bill could not pass Quebec's national assembly with the support of the opposition party alone.

The arena project, which will replace the aging Colisee, is expected to cost about $400 million to be split between the province and the municipal government. Quebecor has purchased longer-term rights for things like the arena name and management of the building.

A former provincial politician and city manager, Denis De Belleval, has called the deal illegal and says he'll go to court to nullify it.

The municipal affairs department and Quebec's lobbying commissioner both say they are looking into the deal separately.

Labeaume says any legal action will further delay the arena project. He says it will also make it harder to attract an NHL team.

The project is considered a prerequisite to attracting an NHL franchise back to the Quebec capital region, more than 15 years after the city lost its Nordiques.

The popular, but famously short-tempered, mayor told a news conference at city hall that trouble-makers had no business blocking the project.

"We will not allow a minority to spoil the dreams of the majority," Labeaume said.


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