Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bonhomme tries to snow PM on arena funding

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OTTAWA -- The prime minister found himself in a unique position Thursday -- being publicly lobbied for about $180 million by a giant snowman.

The mascot of the Quebec City winter carnival applied some pressure during a photo-op with Stephen Harper in his wood-panelled Parliament Hill office. With the media present, Bonhomme Carnaval made veiled references to his city's hope for federal funding for a hockey arena.

He told the prime minister more than once about Quebec City's merits as a sports town. "I'm not sure if you've heard lately," said the mascot with the muffled voice, "but (Quebec City) is an excellent town for winter sports."

The government has sent mixed signals about whether it might provide funding -- up to $180 million -- for a new arena that Quebec hopeswill attract an NHL franchise back to the city.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2010 A22

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