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Drummond, Duncan Disagree


Published: May 1, 2012 11:46 am ET

Last Comment: May 5, 2012 10:45 pm ET | 8 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

As the state of Ontario's horse racing industry continues to receive mainstream media attention, the battle rages on in Queen's Park over the government's decision to end to the slots at racetracks program. The latest point of contention: just whose idea was it?

On Monday during Question Period, MPP Monte McNaughton asked Premier Dalton McGuinty about the decision to close the slot operations at Fort Erie, Hiawatha Horse Park and Windsor Raceway, "mothballing hundreds of jobs and putting families into distress." McNaughton asked if MPP Kim Craitor presented the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium proposal to the government. McGuinty passed off the question to Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who stated the following:

"Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period, the opposition said we should follow Drummond. We are closing those slots, getting rid of it. That was one of Drummond’s recommendations. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, “Do Drummond” and do as the Conservative finance critic did and call the Drummond report a sham the day it was introduced."

The statement from Duncan seemingly contradicts an email sent from Don Drummond to a horseman two weeks ago and forwarded to Trot Insider. When Drummond was asked point blank if the report called "to end the Racetrack Slots agreement or examine it and see if it was a worthwhile agreement for the government," Drummond said the following:

"We weren't even as precise as the second version in your note. We simply urged the Government to review whether they were getting the best value from arrangements."

In the Drummond Report, Recommendation 11-11 looked to "Review and rationalize the current provincial financial support provided to the horse racing industry so that the industry is more appropriately sustained by the wagering revenues it generates rather than through subsidies or their preferential treatments."

The statement from Duncan in the House follows months of the Finance Minster de-emphasizing and downplaying the value of the partnership, economic impact and employment numbers presented by Ontario's horse racing industry, claiming "nobody" believes 60,000 people are directly or indirectly employed despite numerous studies commissioned by the Liberal government confirming those facts.

May 5, 2012 - 10:45 pmI'm sending this in from a

Lynne Magee SAID...

I'm sending this in from a friend who is a long-standing Liberal and horseman.

I read Standardbred Canada's news about MPP Monte McLaughlin asking Mr. McGuinty about racing and his turning it over to Mr. Duncan. His response drives home to me just how ill-informed Mr. Duncan is to the facts and figures on horse racing and I do truly wonder if he did, in fact, read the Drummond report in full. He criticized the opposition for wanting to enact only parts of the report when, in effect, it is the Liberals who are picking and choosing the parts that they want to put into action. Mr. Drummond suggested looking into the slots-at-racetracks program---not scrapping it altogether. He also said that all day kindergarten was not sustainable, that one of the head offices of the OLG should be closed along with the closure of one of the casinos in Niagra Falls. No action has been taken on these items but immediate action was taken on the slots program. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of the slot parlours being closed at Sarnia, Windsor and Fort Erie, not only because of the effect on the horse people but the devastation that it will have on the employees of these parlours. No thought seems to have gone into what these people will do with the loss of their self-esteem and their livelihoods.
I realize that the Drummond report contained some 167 recommendations and that not all of them would be followed.
I have been a proud horseman for 50 years. I have seen the good times and the not so good times. My one salvation, at 70 years of age, is that I am not going to suffer with the end of horseracing as we know it. (But over 60,000 others will be drastically affected. LM)
I am also a lifelong Liberal. My family has deep roots in the Liberal party. My father was the Liberal Warden of Huron County when the Liberals and the Concervatives took turns in that position.(How fair and civilized back then!LM) My brother ran for the Liberal nomination when Murray Elston won and was elected as the Liberal member for Huron. I mention this to stress that I am not a disgruntled opposition member.
We lost our local Liberal MPP in the last election who was the Minister of Agriculture. Our neighboroughing riding, Perth-Wellington, also lost their Liberal member, the Minister of the Environment---both rural ridings. Maybe Bill Murdock's idea to build a fence around Toronto from the rest of Ontario has some merit. I certainly hope not!
Name calling and muck slinging is not the way to solve this problem. Cool heads and intelligent dialogue by some ORDINARY, SENSIBLE PEOPLE could go a long way in solving this issue.

Denis Jewitt
A senior, very concerned citizen and horseman of Ontario

Denis is a very passionate horseman who cares deeply about the future of the industry that he has been a part of for 50 years. He and I agree that we all have to stand together (standardbred-thoroughbred-quarterhorse, rural or urban, big or small, etc.) to fight the McGuinty government. He is also, like many others, very disappointed in the party that is so set on destroying the racehorse industry.

May 2, 2012 - 10:27 amIn response to putting Mayor

In response to putting Mayor Rob Ford in Queens Park to replace McGuinty and Duncan.... didn't you know that Rob Ford is all for putting a huge casino in downtown Toronto! Let's not give up hope. I have a strong feeling that the Liberals are starting to realize the huge misjudgement they have made and could not fathom the revenue that is at stake not to mention our 60,000 jobs (which Duncan still will not realize!) I am grateful for all the people that are fighting hard to educate the government about how vital the Horse Industry is to Ontario's economy, not to mention the rest of the provinces in Canada.

May 2, 2012 - 9:48 amGosh, I must say after

Mary DeLuca SAID...

Gosh, I must say after reading this article I have to question its integrity, because if I’m reading it correctly, then “by rights” everything should be put back together and we should all be able to carry on,no questions asked, right?

These past couple months have been extremely stressful and emotionally draining for all of us tied to this industry. How do these things happen is truly the question that needs to be investigated, and if it’s truly the case, then we the people need to be addressed with answers and explanations.

It’s been a long dark tunnel ride for all of us involved and when I read something like this I wonder if this is the first sign of light transpiring. With all the studies and statistics that have been disclosed these recent months, in support of this industry, it would certainly make sense that a grave error was made.

Now how do we fix it, is all I’m concerned about? Someone out there should be able to guide us to the next level.

May 1, 2012 - 3:26 pmRobert, there is more than a

Maury Ezra SAID...

Robert, there is more than a line or two about gambling.
Here is what the Drummond Report stated:

There was no mention of ending the slots deal. In fact, I'm not sure the Liberals adopted any of the recommendations in the report, including closing a Niagara casino, closing an OLG office, and dropping all day kindergarten.

As for Dwight Duncan: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

May 1, 2012 - 2:59 pmI went back and read the

I went back and read the Drummond Report. The following quote is the only mention as to gambling. No where does it discuss closing the arrangement with Race Tracks but only review the arrangement. This is the quote in the report. "As well, the gambling agency should close one its two head offices — in Toronto or Sault Ste. Marie — as well as one of the two Niagara casinos and allow more slot machines to be installed beyond racetracks or existing gaming facilities."

Wow, did this get out of control.

May 1, 2012 - 2:47 pmIt is so sad most of the

It is so sad most of the Citizens of Ontario will never know what a sham has been pulled on all of us.
The Drummond Report tried to address our indebtedness. All day daycare will be lovely if we could afford it....we can't. I am sure McGuinty would like to leave his stamp on education but the cost is going to be increasing our dept and saddling our children and grandchildren with deep cuts that wouldn't have been necessary if he had done his job more responsibly.

May 1, 2012 - 2:28 pmLooks like Dwight Duncan and

Looks like Dwight Duncan and Dalton McGuinty did not read the Drummond report. These two have lost sight of the reality that you cannot spend money you do not have. We need mayor Rob Ford sitting in Mr. McGinty's place at Queens Park. We need huge changes at the provincial level of government here in Ontario. I feel any one of the leaders across the aisle could do much better at standing up to the people with their hand out to the province. You do not get a raise if we have to borrow the money to pay you. The point is how do we get this system back on track? OLG is not up to the task. The race tracks are going to have to lease their own slots and gaming tables and become independent of government intervention. Not a new idea I,m sure. Bruce T. Winning

May 1, 2012 - 1:32 pmMcGuinty and his side kick

McGuinty and his side kick are saying they want to follow what the Drummond report has recommended. He clearly recommends not going ahead with all day kindergarten and yet McGuinty and Duncan continuosly says the (so called) subsidy the horse people are receiving would be better spent on all day kindergarten. The Liberals have told so many stories they can't keep them straight. Better to tell the truth boys, your just digging a bigger hole for ourselves.

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