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Ministry Of Finance Officials Dispute Duncan's Job Numbers

Published: April 2, 2012 10:52 pm ET

Last Comment: April 3, 2012 5:59 pm ET | 8 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan continues to downplay the significance of the horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario, along with the number of jobs that would be impacted by ending the Slots at Racetracks Program.

In defence of his position, Duncan claims 'nobody believes' 60,000 Ontarians are employed by the horse racing and breeding industry. Apparently Minister Duncan isn't consulting with Ministry of Finance officials, who disagree with his position.

The Ministry of Finance noted in the 2004 Ontario budget that "20 per cent of gross revenue from slot machines at racetracks is provided to promote the economic growth of the horse-racing industry. Since 1998, this initiative has preserved and enhanced over 60,000 jobs in Ontario's horse-racing industry, providing over $1.1 billion to a key component of the Province's agricultural sector." (Source: 2004 Budget, page 46)

A number of other studies conducted for industry and government have also confirmed this number.

"The Minister of Finance is in the process of killing an entire industry in Ontario with a move that will cost the treasury $1.1 billion, and it appears he isn't even consulting his own bureaucrats before making such irresponsible statements. If he did, he would know there are 60,000 Ontarians who rely on horse racing and breeding for their employment. Surely, four separate economic studies and his own Ministry of Finance confirmation of 60,000 jobs should be sufficient evidence to convince the minister it is his facts that are wrong," said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.


April 3, 2012 - 5:59 pmNino Your idea is a great


Your idea is a great one. Sometimes when you are faced with situations that are life altering, you must do what you have to do. I am sure that if the Party's knew that they would have excessive money for an election campaign they would be all for it. The PC party has gone on record that they will vote against this budget. Its the NDP votes that hold all the cards for us. If both party's gave their word in writing that they will vote this budget down and save this industry, I am all for making a donation. I would also set up donation booths at all our racetracks and do so until the new election if the parties agree. How could anyone in this industry not be willing to use this excess purse money if it can save our industry?

As well, why can't a large proportion of the excess purse monies that we have in the purse accounts not be used to fund this right now? I know from COSSA'S website that Woodbine had almost 5 million sitting in theirs Jan 1 and I am sure that all the others tracks combined, have at least that much or maybe more sitting there doing nothing because the ORC mandates it sit there for a rainy day. Well this is the biggest rainstorm this industry has ever had so these funds need to be released now and used in whatever way they need to be used to help this industry survive!!

Lets show the Liberals that this Province belongs to the people and get them out of power !!!!!!!!!

Gary Blackburn

April 3, 2012 - 4:32 pmI think its time to fight

I think its time to fight fire with fire. By all accounts both the PCs and the NDP are financially strapped and can ill afford an election. This is where us 60,000 horsepeople come in. Lets start a fundraising campaign to help bankroll whatever party will back us. Its simple math. I know that not all 60,000 horsepeople can afford to donate however, I am quite sure that a large number of us who can including yours truly. Let see....if 10,000 people donate $1,000 each that is $10 million right there. If another 10,000 people can contribute $500 each that is another $5 million and so on. Also I would assume that there has to be at least 500 people/organizations (top drivers/jockeys, top trainers, vets, breeding farms, feed companies, farming organizations, truck/trailer dealerships, etc) who can easily afford - better yet cannot afford not to - contribute lets say an average of $20,000 each for another $10 million to the cause. Lets circle the wagons and united so that we can win this battle. We would have to do this in an organized and unified manner. Since OHRIA is our voice in this war maybe all the contributions can be funnelled through them in some sort of a trust account. Just an idea. We have to do something!!!

April 3, 2012 - 2:11 pmThe true colours of "Devious

Paul Gangle SAID...

The true colours of "Devious Dalton" and "Deceitful Duncan" are coming out. What we need is a gov't that is going to govern for.... ALL the people of Ontario.... not just for the "urbanites" who supported the Liberal Party in the last election. To adopt a policy that threatens the livelihoods of 60,000 hard-working people is nothing short of criminal. Just maybe the strategy.... is to cause an election knowing that the opposition parties have little money to mount a credible campaign, however I think that they may be under-estimating the resiliance of the Consevatives and the NDP, not to mention the wrath of the Ontario electorate. I would be surprised if both Mcguinty and Duncan got re-elected in their own ridings given the fact that both, have racetracks in their respective areas which they shut down (Fort Erie and Windsor). The Liberals, at this point, may be decimated and may not even gain opposition party status according to some "straw" polls. They have lost touch with the grass roots voters.

If Ontario ever needed an election..... it is NOW.

April 3, 2012 - 2:01 pmJust listened to Andrea

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Just listened to Andrea Horwath's press conference on CHCH. She identified proposals for changes to budget in order for NDP to support budget, and Slots at Racetracks program was not mentioned. She was questioned as to whether she would vote against the budget if her proposals were not met, and she was very wishy-washy. Another reporter said, sounds like you are "asking" for these proposals/changes to the budget, but are not going to vote against it if these changes are not made. Again she would not state definitely that the NDP would vote against the budget. All she seemed to want to do was slam Tim Hudak and the PC's saying she would not take a stand like Tim Hudak and his PCs. She wants HST off Home Heating, and earners over 500k in this province to move into 13% tax bracket.

Sounds like all of our phone calls and e-mails to the NDP have also fallen on deaf ears.

It appears that during the so-called negotiations with the Liberal government, Horwath and her caucus are enjoying the clout they have in holding the balance of power, but the Gov't has gotten to her, in some sort of under-the-table deal, and she is going to cave and support this Liberal Budget.

Unfortunately, that means certain disaster for our industry. If she does jump into bed with the Liberals, let's hope she pays dearly during the next election, along with her Liberal partners!

April 3, 2012 - 11:42 amCan anyone say "Hidden

brian hancox SAID...

Can anyone say "Hidden Agenda"? Many times I have seen things done by government from all walks of life albeit Federal, Provincial, or Municipal. When something is done that is absolutely beyond the realm of intelligence it is time to look for the hidden agenda and more times than not that is what drives ridiculous decisions.

Watching the Liberals implode a work force of over sixty thousand people tells me that they definitely have a hidden agenda. My guess would be that the Liberals know that changing the scene in Ontario by building new casinos will not be as profitable but it will likely assist them a great deal in financing a new election. To me, this is the only thing that makes sense. Many years ago Race Tracks Canada hired a canadian firm to do an audit of the racing industry and the results showed that the racing industry exceeded the forestry industry in the creation of jobs in Canada!

Do the Liberals want their government to fall because they know they are the only party that can fund another election?

April 3, 2012 - 11:14 amI an sitting in my living

Peggy Powell SAID...

I an sitting in my living room watching the Ontario Legislature channel & there is group of people visiting to see democracy in action What a laugh. The way that they are treating the race horse industry is far from a democracy. They are acting more like tyrants than elected officials. They continue to down play the numbers of people employed in this industry. They continue to be deceitfull & they don't even take into account the many expensive reports that were performed by their own Liberals. A good accountant will tell you that you can make numbers say what ever you want to suit your purpose at any time. The Liberals just dispute the real numbers. They do not care about us. That is the fact that we all must face. Today, I am sad to be Canadian with no faith in our Provincial government. As I see it there is little hope for us with this deceitfull government in power. Ms Horwath, Please force an election!!!!!!!!!

April 3, 2012 - 9:57 amIs it possible the Dwight

Is it possible the Dwight Duncan isn't playing with a full deck? Are there measures in place when an elected representative is being completely irrational and incompetent?

April 3, 2012 - 12:56 amKeep fighting the fight.

Keep fighting the fight. Has you parliament there passed the budget or is it yet to be voted on. If it were defeated, that would mean an immediate election would it not? Has Mr Duncan ever spent a day at a track, be it thoroughbred or standardbred? He needs to see, to have a better understanding Invite him to a track away from his home and to travel as an ordinary citizen. In other words he would buy some gas, maybe even take a hotel for the night, buy a drink and a meal and spend a few dollars at the mutuels. I suppose he could buy a program that was printed at a local print shop, and if he wanted to get in a win picture and order an extra picture from the photograper, a few more bucks spent. Gee, how many people has he handed money to over this brief visit to a track and how much did he contribute in taxes. If only this man would understand I do this routine roughly 30-40 times a year as an owner. Well maybe not that many win pictures.

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