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)