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We Must Unite, No One Is Safe


Published: March 29, 2012 1:08 pm ET

Last Comment: March 30, 2012 12:44 am ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"We need our industry, each and every one of us, to rise to the occasion and communicate with Andrea's office and with every NDP MPP in Ontario and make them understand our industry, understand the program, understand the jobs that are at stake because it's going to be in her hands to either take this government down or force this government to take a different approach to the horse racing industry going forward."

On today's episode of Trot Radio, Norm Borg talks to Sue Leslie of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association. OHRIA has picked up the fight against the proposed cuts to horse racing by urging the industry to call and write the NDP's budget feedback line over the next week as well as rally at Liberal offices across the province.

In response to Borg's questions about the Drummond Report, Leslie noted economist Don Drummond didn't recommend ending the slots-at-racetrack program, merely to review it on the basis of value-for-money.

"That, of course, has not been done. Minister Duncan wants to say that the OLG did a review of the industry - that's true. But they didn't do a review of the industry as to how the OLG impacts the industry. They did a review to see whether, in their opinion, they were maximizing revenues for the OLG. So there was no review of horse racing and its contribution to Ontario or its contribution to the slot program."

The government then publicly stated the program was "reviewed" which Leslie more accurately points out as semantic convenience for Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. Leslie notes that Duncan referred horse racing to the Jobs & Prosperity Council, a council set up to transition people into new employment and not - as previously indicated - to help work with groups and individuals.

"So where the OLG has gone, this has nothing to do with horse racing - their decision - they were asked to review the OLG, they were not asked to review horse racing or what it contributed to what it contributes to the province. They then went, in their own way, did their review based strictly on gaming, and decided they can make more money by moving gaming to urban centres."

When Borg asked for Leslie's insight on how some tracks will and will not have slots, Leslie clarified the issue with her take noting that it will come down to how attractive an offer the track can make to the debt-stricken province.

"They're not going to go to racetracks and try to negotiate with racetracks and anything to do with horse racing. The program has been cancelled," said Leslie. "So when they go to a racetrack, they're going to go in and say 'please do a RFP for us, there will be competition for the slot machines you have here. If you can show us a solid business plan that says it's going to make the OLG a lot of money...we will review it to other people who in this vicinity who will also be putting in a RFP and whoever presents the best one will get the slots. It has nothing to do with horse racing, nothing'."

To hear the full interview with Leslie, click the play button below.

Episode 256 – Sue Leslie, Chair of Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

Please note that the opinions expressed in the featured interview are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect Rideau Carleton Raceway and/or Standardbred Canada.

(Photo credit: Peter Power/Globe and Mail)

March 30, 2012 - 12:44 amDear Mrs. Horwath, Thank you

Dear Mrs. Horwath,

Thank you for replying to my message. I appreciate all the question that you asked to Mr. McGuinty, but none were regarding the horse racing industry. The racetrack/slots partnership program existing is the best program that OLG have. Worlwide they were copying on Ontario Program because it works. OLG approached our racetrack, using their facilities, lands, parkings, our gamblers, and they made huge amount of money without spending to buy lands, building casinos, and it was the only existing legal gambling options,
When Mr. Duncan told to the public that they gave approximately 345 millions to the horse racing industry, this is a lie,
Only 50% of this return to the horse racing industry for the purses and keeping 17 racetracks open across Ontario, and 60000 jobs across Ontario. The horse racing industry is the most powerful across Canada. The other 50% return to track owner for using theirs facilities, lands, parkings, gamblers, and also using track’s marketing, promotions etc to bring more people to play their slots,
Horse racing industry returns in Ontario economy in 2010 2.1 bilions dollars – if you do the maths 2.1 bilions spent in the economy versus around 172 milions and at the same time creating 60000 jobs across Ontario. 261 milions in direct taxes goes to Ontario Government from horse racing industry. Very important that 80% of the 2.1 bilions spent in the economy goes to agricultural/rural sector. Horse racing industry is not a hobby... it is an agricultural job,,,,, we are like pig farmers, chicken farmers, etc... we reinvest everyday to create our own job, like the farmers.
At the rally who took place at Quuen’s Park last week your party promised us to stand up for us.

The only way that your party can help the horse racing industry and save 60000 jobs is to VOTE DOWN THIS BUDGET – WHO MAKE NO SENSE,
You do not destroy a powerful industry who is economicaly excellent for Ontario and exist for 150 years plus,
Ontario Breeding is at his best and recognize worlwide.
All the family involved who invest their last penny and now will probably goes bankruptcy... big dammage is already done but YOUR PARTY CAN SAVE US VOTING THIS BUDGET DOWN,
I can write you a book on this industry because we are the 3rd generation,,,, but I am sure that I pass my message and Please respect the commitment that your MPP gave to all those brave men and women and their children at the rally last week.


Micheline Beaudoin

March 29, 2012 - 7:48 pmDwight Please re-consider


Please re-consider demolishing all of Ontario's Horse Racing. This is the Heart & Soul of our Country. Don't wreck it. If it's not broken, don't fix it. I don't understand why you would want to build new casino's. If nobody has a "JOB" then how can we gamble. I would think that with all this up-coming job loss, there will most likely be alot more crime. Did you consider hiring more police, lawyers and judges in your Budget. Oh ya I forgot, don't worry about the homeless and upcoming welfare applicants too. Us tax-payers will pick up the slack. I didn't realize that I lived in a Communist Country. How would you like to walk in somebody else's shoes? Maybe you should try it. I'm sure that you would re-consider alot of your decisions.

Bonnie Burgoon

March 29, 2012 - 2:25 pmWhat a good person Ms.

What a good person Ms. Leslie is. I believe her when she says Duncan did not review the facts and that Drummond only advised Duncan to review, not kill horse racing in Ontario.

Here is what I am doing today, and what others can do: Contact by using the NDP websites that have been set up to make others aware that Duncan has not put our troubles under a microscope and turn it up high. Ms. Horwath (NDP) has not decided what to do. If she makes another election possible, she will have a flock of voters available for 10 years.

I for one have a high lofty opinion of myself, and ask Duncan to be fair and if he made a mistake, own up to it. He is not representing me in the best way possible when he just skims a few pages and says no more racing.That is not good enough.

If Ms. Horwath sets an election in motion, I will wire a campaign contribution of $1000.00 to her
Others can do the same. It is tax deductible and is not a total loss.

(Another way to let the NDP know that we will help the people who help us.)

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