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OHRIA To Liberal Candidates: Commit To Ontario Horse Racing

Published: January 3, 2013 2:40 pm ET

Last Comment: January 4, 2013 2:45 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Thursday, January 3, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association sent out a press release indicating that it has sent a letter to each of the Ontario Liberal Leadership candidates asking them to support specific measures to protect Ontario horse racing.

The contents of the release appear below.

Liberal Leadership Candidates Asked to Commit to Future of Ontario Horse Racing

The president of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association has sent a letter to each Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate, asking them to support specific measures to protect the horse racing and breeding industry's future in Ontario.

The current government has less than 30 days in office before a new Premier is selected. The horse racing and breeding industry is under extraordinary pressure and need to know who among the candidates for Premier supports the 55,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in annual investment horse racing and breeding bring to Ontario going forward.

With less than 90 days until the Slots at Racetracks Program is scheduled to end and no long term strategy in place to ensure the survival of the horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario, OHRIA warned each candidate of the crisis they will inherit if they do not act swiftly to ensure the industry's survival.

In her letter, Sue Leslie specifically asked candidates to support two initiatives key to the industry's long term survival.

  1. Deferring the implementation of the OLG Modernization Strategy until it can be amended in a way that ensures that the horse racing industry may continue to provide meaningful employment and substantial revenue for the province.
  2. Extending the Slots at Racetracks Program from its intended expiration of March 31, 2013, to avoid further devastation to the breeders as they approach the upcoming breeding season. This will allow Ontario's new Premier and government to integrate horse racing into the province's gaming strategy. Doing so will also ensure that slots at racetracks continue to provide economic benefit throughout the 2013 racing season.

Additional Comments from Sue Leslie:

"The Ontario Liberal leadership race needs to be about the renewal of our province, not just their party. Fifty-five thousand men and women in all corners of Ontario stand to lose their jobs if the Slots at Racetracks Program ends and horse racing isn't an integrated part of the OLG modernization strategy. We need action from everyone serious about being Premier now."

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January 4, 2013 - 2:45 pmIn my opinion, for what it is

In my opinion, for what it is worth,the only way to SUBDUE the OLG monster is for horsemen of all breeds,all racetracks,all affected municipalities,and all owners and tradespeople to STAND TOGETHER AND FIGHT TOGETHER to the bitter end as we approach March 31. No agreements should be signed with the OLG.

It is inconceivable that an honourable new Liberal Government would walk away from revenues exceeding one billion dollars yearly when it could just as easily extend the slots program and commission a proper and impartial study of their own on the whole mess.

Such a study will confirm the slots history in Ontario. History is conclusive that people in Ontario will only patronize slots when they can "go racing"! The
5 mini casinos and/or slots in Ontario where there is no racing component have consistently lost money for the Province.

I strongly commend Sue Leslie' press release which is right on the money.

January 4, 2013 - 11:39 amGood advise, Cam. While

Lynne Magee SAID...

Good advise, Cam. While those of us in the racing industry are feeling very negative about the provincial Liberals and feel that they are untrustworthy, the fact of the matter is that we could very well be stuck with them for the duration of their term. It is very important that we educate them as to the truths about our industry and the benefits of the SARP. The OLG and their business buddies brainwashed McGuinty and Duncan with myths who, in turn, did likewise with their party members. If we are going to under Liberal rule for the next 2.5 years, we need to demand a change of minds. Dennis Mills seems to have a foot in the door. Maybe his influence will stand us in good stead with some of these candidates. Pupatello's election as the leader could be disastrous!

January 3, 2013 - 4:26 pmI applaud Sue Leslie and

Cam McKnight SAID...

I applaud Sue Leslie and OHRIA for trying to get candidates to support the racing industry.

While it's obvious that McGuinty/Duncan brought the industry to its knees, fact is one of the Leadership candidates will control the fate of our industry -- at least until the next election (which could possibly drag out for another 2 1/2 years).

Most of the Leadership candidates have softened their tone on SARP, and the future of racing). One candidate noticeable because of her absence is front-runner Sandra Pupatello.

Delegates for the Leadership convention will be selected next weekend (January 12-13). Each riding in Ontario can select up to 25 delegates (including Youth delegates)The elected delegates will then attend the Liberal convention in Toronto the weekend of January 25, and those 2,500 delegates will select the next Premier.

Instead of bashing Liberals for the next three weeks, I believe we should be talking to as many as possible, and working to convince them of our cause (and make sure they know Pupatello represents more of McGuinty/Duncan quagmire.)

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