Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks at an announcement on plans for an events centre to replace the aging Saddledome, in Calgary on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. Smith, a day after linking $330 million in provincial money for an NHL arena project to her United Conservatives getting re-elected, told reporters she hopes it doesn’t become an election issue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta Premier Smith hopes funding for Flames arena won’t become election issue

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says she hopes provincial money she promised for an NHL arena project in Calgary doesn’t become an election issue.

She made the comment a day after she linked $330 million for the Calgary Flames arena to her United Conservatives getting re-elected.

Smith says the $1.2-billion project is good for Calgary and good for Alberta, adding that she hopes political parties of all stripes will rally around it.

The premier has promised to drop the writ on Monday for a May 29 provincial election.

Smith told reporters at a party event in Calgary there won’t be any additional money beyond what was pledged.

The deal was announced Tuesday, at which time Smith says she hopes Calgary voters give her party a clear mandate to proceed.

Smith also says the decision to help pay for the new project doesn’t contradict past comments rejecting public money for such private ventures, noting in this case the province is funding infrastructure around the arena and not the building itself.

The province has struck a deal with the City of Calgary and the group that owns the Calgary Flames to jointly fund the sports complex, which includes a community rink that the Flames would also use to practice.

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