American and Chinese billionaires are asking Quebec’s help to pay Cirque du Soleil employees and suppliers while they continue to reap astronomical profits elsewhere, a situation denounced by an expert. Cirque du Soleil added several lobbyists at the end of March to represent it before the Government of Quebec. Among them, Manon Brouillette, former patron of Videotron, and Mitch Garber, chairman of the board of directors of Cirque du Soleil. The objective is to obtain financial assistance Quebec province to pay "operating expenses, including suppliers and creditors". The aid is requested "following the suspension by the Cirque du Soleil Group of its commercial activities on a global scale due to the COVID-19 pandemic".

According to La Presse, Cirque du Soliel employees and suppliers have not yet been paid for their work more than a month ago. Financial aid from Quebec : "could be in the form of a grant, loan or capital injection", depending on the mandate. Should Quebec pay? Such a request raised some questions asked Louis Patrick Leroux, professor and vice-dean at Concordia University.: “We can ask ourselves the question as to the symbolic and corporate responsibility of Cirque. Do they have a solidarity?" The latter emphasizes that the foreign owners of the Cirque, an American fund and a Chinese group (see below), are rich enaugh to overflowing. Cirque's third shareholder is the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec. So should Quebec pay? Cirque’s current problems are due primarily to the huge debt of US $ 1 billion that the Texan fund TPG decided to allocate to Cirque to finance itself in 2015, according to Mr. Leroux. "They found a way to take the purchase debt and turn it against the purchased business. It’s a way to get in a good position, they’re not in debt, "he said. The Concordia expert points out that the Circus was already in a precarious situation before the pandemic. "They have lost tens of millions in some projects," he says. For the past two years, the Cirque has been trying to bail itself out by adopting a more corporatist vision, according to him. "There is a part of the soul of the Circus that is leaving," he believes. “We are faced with a frustrating situation. We protect foreign investors, while playing the national hot strings ... I understand that many are frustrated, ”he says.

Thousands of highly skilled artists and technicians will be forced to search for new employment, how long does performers will keep their skills, where and how will they have to rehears. Currently we can see that artists are looking for new circus props, searching for possibilities to create new acts and order new circus equipment to adjust and adapt to new reality. Hopefully we all will go through this tough times.

RCS Media update