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Fury In Fort Erie Over OMAFRA Report

Published: October 31, 2012 3:22 pm ET

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Jim Thibert, Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium CEO, did not mince words in coming to a conclusion about the OMAFRA Panel's report on the transitioning of the Ontario horse-racing industry from the slots-at-racetracks program. Also, Fort Erie's Liberal MPP Kim Craitor has commented on the report, which, in addition to the provincial standardbred industry, has sent shock waves through Fort Erie.

As an article by Buffalo Business First explains, the OMAFRA report on the future of Ontario horse racing has recommended reducing the border oval's race dates from 81 to 30. During peak season, the Fort Erie Race Track employs 2,000 people. The 115-yearold raceway has a $185 million annual economic impact on the town.

“They (the OMAFRA Panel) threw Fort Erie under the bus,” Thibert was quoted as saying.

Kim Craitor, the Liberal MPP representing the area in the provincial legislature, also commented on the conclusions and recommendations of the OMAFRA report. Earlier this past spring, Craitor had the ability to vote against the Liberals' provincial budget in support of Fort Erie, which he did not do.

As the Buffalo Business First article states, Craitor has said that the OMAFRA Report came to false conclusions based on bad information.

“The report is totally screwed up,” Craitor was quoted as saying. “They left Fort Erie out of the mix and I don’t understand why. Is this about politics? You can’t think of any other reason.”

(With files from Buffalo Business First)

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