The Conservative government faces a lose-lose scenario when it comes to the issue of funding a hockey arena in Quebec City.
If the Tories fork over tax dollars to the arena it will outrage their base; not only is it using taxpayer dollars to subsidize a private company, but worse it pandering to Quebec nationalists.
For a lot of conservatives that's the worst sort of subsidy.
On the other hand, if the Conservatives fail to dole out the dollars, it will give ammunition to the Bloc Quebecois in the next federal election.
So what to do?
Do you stand up for your base or cater to special interests?
It's a question of principle vs politics.
Well, given this government's general failure to stand up for principle, I strongly suspect the arena will get its money.
After all, even if conservatives howl with rage, where else are they going to go?
That's what happens when a party takes its base for granted.