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Ontario Budget Deal Close?


Published: April 20, 2012 9:52 pm ET

Last Comment: April 23, 2012 3:26 pm ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Premier Dalton McGuinty will meet with NDP leader Andrea Horwath on Monday to discuss final concessions in an attempt to gain support for the Ontario budget.

According to an article on Canadian Business, McGuinty has agreed to two of Horwath’s budget requests of increasing support for child care and the Ontario Disability Support Program. McGuinty says he will find the costs associated with those demands of $242 million and $33 million, respectively, from the education budget and savings on changes made to public drug plans.

"Over the weekend, we'll continue to analyze how else we may be able to work together to make the budget stronger," McGuinty said in the statement. "I've asked Ms. Horwath to meet on Monday and have requested that she come prepared, on behalf of her party and caucus, to reach an agreement."

Among Horwath’s list of demands include helping industries affected by the budget such as horse racing, although she has said she is not drawing a line in the sand in regards to which concessions will be enough to win her party’s support.

On Tuesday, MPPs will vote on the budget for the first time. It is one of two votes that will happen in the next little while on the budget that could defeat the government.

In March, the Liberal government and the OLG announced a modernization strategy that will end the province's slots-at-racetracks program as of March 2013. Both opposition leaders Horwath and PC's Tim Hudak, and even members of the Liberal party, have expressed support for Ontario's horse racing industry, responsible for 60,000 full and part-time jobs and over $2 billion in provincial economic impact.

(With files from Canadian Business)

April 23, 2012 - 3:26 pmSent today to McGuinty,

Sent today to McGuinty, Horvac, Hudak and all elected MPP's.

I am writing in support of the Standardbred Racing Community and, to add yet another voice that the recommendations in this budget will have a negative impact on this industry.

Margaret Mead once said, "Don`t think that a small group of awakened individuals cannot change the world it is the ONLY thing that ever has."

I have followed with interest this week the media spin -- how Horvath is betraying labour, PC are looking for anything to call an election , the Liberals are doing what needs to be done and, how big business and union busters are smiling.

My first question to each of the leaders is how much has LHIN cost the taxpayers of Ontario?

Our daily reported when this journey of wasted taxes began years ago that the salary for one senior staff alone, was $200,000 annually – which of course does not factor in support staff, benefits, rent and other overheads. We know the PC do not see the benefit of LHIN so perhaps you could give me a year-by-year, region-by-region accounting.

I would love to have the opportunity to meet with each of you together or privately, to discuss only LHIN vs the role of Ministry of Health and, their staff.

Having worked for CUPE, I recognize and support labour and to quote a “brother” --“negotiations must seek to be a ‘win-win’ outcome, compromise must come from both sides for a stronger workplace.”

I do not believe that this government really comprehends the far-reaching effect of jobs losses within the standardbred industry. I also believe that if bottom lines of the cost of LHIN were put before taxpayers, it would discredit to some degree the auditors recommendation of how much can be gained by the removal of slots revenue from the tracks.

Taking that a step further, wouldn’t it be more prudent to implement a substantial reduction of the salaries that our CEO’s and management teams are paid in hospitals and put the money where it is needed, ie patient care? Hiring more RPN’s and PSW’s? Why is it that a RPN in a nursing home is responsible for meds to some 68 patients yet an RN at a hospital may have 4 to 6 patients they are responsible for?

Your math relating to shortages for health care do not make sense nor, do they add up.

I worked at the Ontario Racing Commission from approximately 1988 to 1991 and witnessed first-hand the roller-coaster of changes our industry would move to. Some changes have resulted in a positive impact for the sport, but there were far more that I would respectfully submit did not.

At that time Frank Drea, a former cabinet minister, was Chair. Mr. Drea recognized the importance and contribution of smaller tracks to this exciting sport and realized what an important role it played in our Province and, on an international stage.

I think for any elected politician to understand the impact of your vote tomorrow, you all need to better understand the history of the sport. I believe if you had that history in your hands, you would each find a way to compromise for that “win-win” outcome.

You have already been presented with the potential number of lost jobs this industry will suffer which reaches far beyond a race track -- I will not repeat.

You are familiar with the bottom line with respect to revenue that resulted from the relationship between OLG and the racing industry since the implementation of slots, again, I will not repeat.

There should be no mistake that it was in fact the standardbred industry that became the driving force of slots and casinos in this province and the revenues this government have enjoyed. You were allowed, and came into our playgrounds and backyards, and now basically want to steel our thunder.

Both the OLG and ORC were adamant when this journey began years ago that they would be mindful of ensuring that the face of slots and casinos ensured integrity, and, that all precautions would be in place to ensure that they would be mindful of roads leading to corruption and crime, were at the top of their radar.

Fast forward to 2012, in your esteemed wisdom you now feel it wise to “privatize” the gaming industry leaving the door wide open for money laundering and organized crime, providing a welcome matt to mafia, to walk in and take further control of our cities.

Perhaps the solution for all involved is that the present arrangement that the government (OLG, ORC) have with the tracks and horseman would be that the allocation of all monies for distribution back to the tracks and communities is distributed proportionately to the size of each racetrack and perhaps based on their live mutual handles.

I would agree that we do not need a slots facility and casino every 100 km, but I do not agree that the very industry that this government has profited from be used as a scapegoat for a government that has spent and loaned money like they have an orchard of money trees at Queen’s Park ie money for green initiatives to companies outside of this country before first allowing a Canadian company to bid, huge loans to upgrade our highway rest stops to an American firm -- to name a few.

I would hope that tomorrow, each elected official vote not as your party but, you speak for your individual communities and the taxpayers you represent remembering that your vote will literally be the beginning of extinction for a 100+ year old industry.

Jobs affected are far-reaching - horsemen, farriers, veterinaries, hospitality, farmers and other trades people – all of whom work hard and, give back to the communities that they live in.


April 22, 2012 - 10:24 pmTHIS JUST IN!!! At a

At a Sunday meeting with the Premier, Ms. Horwath told him that she wanted him to cancel the Horse grab that is bothering 60,000 racing people !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check the Toronto Star on your computer.

April 22, 2012 - 6:45 pmRacing is still on the NDP

Cam McKnight SAID...

Racing is still on the NDP list of demands according to this latest CP story.

The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 22, 2012 5:10 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 22, 2012 6:23 PM ET

Ontario Liberals and New Democrats are meeting again today, trying to negotiate a deal before Tuesday's crucial budget vote to keep the minority government alive and avoid another election.

Sources with both parties confirm the talks continued all weekend, but aren't saying when NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Premier Dalton McGuinty will hold a face-to-face meeting.

Horwath told thousands of protesters gathered on the front lawn of the Ontario legislature Saturday she would rather avoid triggering another election by defeating the budget.

But she vowed to keep pushing to change what she called a "profoundly flawed" fiscal plan from the Liberals.

Last week, Horwath dropped a key NDP demand to have the provincial portion of the HST removed from home heating bills, but she still wants a surtax on incomes over $500,000.

The New Democrats also want more money for daycare and community care, an increase welfare rates, a $250-million job creation tax credit and help for horse racing and tourism.

The Progressive Conservatives vow to vote against the budget on Tuesday, so the Liberals need support from at least two New Democrats to avoid their defeat.

April 22, 2012 - 2:35 pmA friend of mine from the

Cam McKnight SAID...

A friend of mine from the Great White North, tells me that yesterday a number of Sudbury horsemen met with the MPP for their Nickel Belt riding, France Gelinas. Gelinas is one of the NDP's leading voices. She is also their critic for Health and Long-Term care.

Ms. Gelinas had asked for some ideas/proposals in advance of yesterdays meeting, and the group put a couple of documents together.The delegation was headed by Dr. Ed Bassis. He is a longtime horse enthusiast, has a couple of broodmares and usually campaigns a horse or two at Sudbury.

Apparently Ms. Gelinas was very receptive to the report/proposal, and indicated her willingness to present it to her leader (Horwath), and fellow NDP caucus members Sunday night (tonight), or Monday morning. She also apparently indicated that saving the 60,000 racing/agricultural jobs is still high on the NDP priority list.

I know time is short, but it seems to me encouraging/pressing/pushing the NDP is still our best (only?) hope.

April 21, 2012 - 8:18 pmIan Dow we're screwed! No

Ian Dow SAID...

Ian Dow we're screwed! No wonder the people have so little regard for politicians, Horvath is so anxious to keep her job she will support the Liberals no matter what!.
I have said for a long time the big thing missing is HONOUR, both the Liberals and NDP are experts at talking out of both sides of the mouths.
I hope the horse people of Ontario remember this when we do finally get an election.

April 21, 2012 - 7:31 pmJust a case of another

Just a case of another mainly urban party putting the screws to rural Ontario.

April 21, 2012 - 7:23 pmThe horse racing industry

Diane Lord SAID...

The horse racing industry will still survive in ontario with or without the government partnership. Life goes on.

April 21, 2012 - 6:44 pmVery disappointed in Horvath

alan guthrie SAID...

Very disappointed in Horvath and her NDP's. We stood there and listened to her MPP's shout out "JOBS,JOBS,JOBS" AT Queen's Park during the rally. The same people,at the same rally that said, "Don't give up. We are in your corner" Typical political BS. All politicians are the same.

April 21, 2012 - 3:20 pmWhat is most frustrating

What is most frustrating about this whole situation is the misinformation the government has been fed by the OLG.The 75 percent it currently receives from the slots at racetracks is far more than they would get from an MGM casino were they would be lucky to get 40 percent.Norm Borg on Trot radio said the state of Ohio was only geting 33 percent from Northfield.If the OLG thinks the racetracks will sign on for only 20 percent when MGM gets 60 percent,they should check what they are smoking.The OLG will end up with a reduced take when this whole matter is resolved, and results in a loss of government revenue,of course all they will say is we are sorry,just as they said to all the lottery wimmers the retailers stole from

April 21, 2012 - 3:00 pmNone of the parties have

Roy Steele SAID...

None of the parties have money for a campaign you say !!!! How about the people that have lost their jobs at the slots and the ones in the industry that will have no money !!!!!!
Voter fatigue you say Ill walk 20 miles barefoot to vote to keep honest people working in a sport they love !!!!!!!!

How can those NDP mpp's look their constituents in the face after all the praises that has been heaped on them. Its simple DO THE RIGHT THING !!!!!!!

April 21, 2012 - 1:09 pmMcguinty just gave into the

Mcguinty just gave into the NDP to the tune of 270 million bucks!You think the liberals are going to make a deal with the 340 million bucks horse racing gets yearly!!

April 21, 2012 - 12:38 pmWe're minnows on a hook.

We're minnows on a hook. We've been snagged and tossed into the sea, bait to be swallowed whole to catch a bigger fish. You're right Tim, we stood on the lawn and the NDP encouraged us to push the JOBS side of the protest. Like true politicians, they told us what we wanted to hear and sent us away happy and confident they would look out for our best interests. Big mistake to trust any politician! We must remember that in the very near future when we are trying to rebuild our industry.

April 21, 2012 - 8:09 amthe NDP stood on the podium

Tim Dean SAID...

the NDP stood on the podium at Queen's Park and chanted JOBS JOBS JOBS
Ms. Horwath must be from a different NDP division....not that they aren't important, child care and support for ODSP....but neither add or save JOBS

April 21, 2012 - 6:47 amsorry to be so cynical, but

jim cauchon SAID...

sorry to be so cynical, but horvath and mcguinty, and most likely hudak already have an ùnderstanding: make a lot of noise, but under no circumstances, make this govt fall....none of the parties have any money for campaigns..let alone party and voter fatigue in this regard.

I think the 'budget vote dance' will be finalized in a horvath-dalton meeting monday.

horsepeople ...don't let this deter you.
none of this should deter your efforts.


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