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Senators Team Up In Support Of Ontario Horse Racing

Published: October 5, 2012 9:22 am ET

Last Comment: October 11, 2012 8:54 am ET | 8 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Two Senators from opposite sides of the aisle are teaming up to condemn an Ontario government policy that may lead to the deliberate killing of 7,500-13,000 horses next year.

During hearings by the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee on a bill to legalize single-event sports betting, Liberal Senator George Baker and Conservative Senator Bob Runciman expressed alarm over the possible mass euthanization, which came up for discussion during testimony by officials from the Woodbine Entertainment Group, Canada’s largest racetrack operator.

The horses will need to be euthanized as a result of the cancellation of the Slots at Racetrack Program, which gives a portion of proceeds from slots located at horse racing facilities to the racing and equine industries. The end of the program will result in the loss of more than $300 million to the industry, resulting in the closure of all but a handful of Ontario’s 17 racetracks.

“This is nothing short of a massacre,” said Baker. “The Ontario government’s decision, through their policy, to indirectly authorize the killing of so many horses is unconscionable.”

Runciman, who has been sounding the alarm bells over the policy for several months, agreed. “Seventy-five hundred horses are collateral damage of a seat-of-the-pants policy that is costing 30,000 jobs and ruining a healthy industry. Ontarians should be outraged,” Runciman said.

The program, in which race tracks and the horse-racing industry split 20 per cent of revenue from slot machines located at tracks, has been widely credited with stabilizing and rejuvenating the racing industry by allowing tracks to offer higher purses. At the same time, it adds $1.1 billion annually to provincial coffers.

But Slots at Racetracks was cancelled with no consultation in the Ontario government’s spring budget. Slots have already been pulled from some tracks, with more scheduled to lose them next year as the government concentrates gambling in larger, urban casinos.

October 11, 2012 - 8:54 amWhy are municipalities not

Why are municipalities not inviting OHRIA reps. to their council meetings with casino lobbyists so councillors and public again hear about the real fallout from the OLG plans?

October 10, 2012 - 7:05 am"If you Gentlemen were in our

Will Yamakva SAID...

"If you Gentlemen were in our shoes...what would you do ???"

Try to fill the stands like they do in the USA. Get people wagering on the product rather than complaining.

October 5, 2012 - 6:26 pmDo some research! I have

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Do some research! I have been informed that there is a law on the books, and is still in affect, which allows the Federal Government to over-rule/veto a decision which is made by a Provincial Government, that will cause severe hardship to the people of that Province. It was used to over-rule the Social Credit Govt in one of the Prairie Provinces in the thirties.

October 5, 2012 - 3:20 pmSenator Runciman & Senator

Senator Runciman & Senator Baker......Thank you for your ongoing support.
I just have 1 question.....what would you suggest we do as horseman that are being flushed down the toilet?
We have been to Queens Park, at least 3 times.
We have Lisa McLeod presenting her Private Members Bill to have the OLG investigated.
A private members bill by Mr. McHaughton to have referendums has been presented, it still needs 3r reading, but in the meantime McGuinty says he will not abide by that requirement.
Jim .Mills.. has taken out bill boards all across Toronto,
We have the privelege of venting here on Standardbred Canada, (and to Standardbred Canada—Thank You for the opportunity )
Wellington County prepared the DVD outlining what this will do, not just to horsemen, but Agriculture on the whole.
Each and every horseman, with a computer has sent emails to their respective MPP.
Flamboro Raceway has a slide show playing on their monitors between races. Articles have been written in newspapers and many have sent Letters to Editors in their local papers.
Thanks to Tom Kelly there were available to us, signs that we could post on training centres, our driveways.
Marty Adler even tried talking with Ted McMeekin about this crazy scheme...he got tossed off the property.
I personally have sent out every article that is related to our fight to 85 members of a carriage association in order that they are informed and do their part and write to their MPP.
Even noting that approx 13,000 horses could be euthanized does not seem to affect the Liberals.
Each and every time we complain I suspect the LYING LIBERALS are just sitting there and High 5'ing one another. The LYING LIBERALS seem to have a more determined agenda of late and are plowing thru with every plan they can dream up. It looks like the OLG are waving millions of dollars at the municipalities where they want to set up shop. Of course the municiplities just love the color of who cares about livelihoods and animals.
If you Gentlemen were in our shoes...what would you do ???

October 5, 2012 - 1:23 pmSorry Bob and George but you

Tom Kelly SAID...

Sorry Bob and George but you are Six months too late. Where has the Federal senate been ? Don't worry thousand plus horsemen and their families who spend seven days a week ,doing something that they love to do, will never again trust their fate when it is left in the Hands of POLATITIONS , and their millionaire backers who actually run the show..IF YOU RECALL MR RUNCIMAN ,three months ago at your fund raiser for Garfield Dunlop $225 a head I asked you then WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE MARES IN FOAL AND THEIR WEANLINGS AND YEARLINGS? OLG IN 2011 GROSSED $7 BILLION from all sales of lottery and slots.The return to ONTARIO TAXPAYERS was just over 2 million...ASK McGINTY and DUNCAN if they care? The answer is no...

October 5, 2012 - 11:58 amOHRIA take note!

Ian Dow SAID...

OHRIA take note!

October 5, 2012 - 11:55 amFrom across the pond.

From across the pond. Senators Baker and Runciman should be applauded for their stance on what, if it goes ahead, can only be described as utter carnage.The WORLD view on the actions of the politicians responsible for this policy can only be described as 'dispicable', shame on you.

October 5, 2012 - 11:31 amThe government of Ontario has

Dave Nicol SAID...

The government of Ontario has given us a bipartisan? 3 person committee to make recomendations on the removal of the SAR program which has been beneficial to all participants. The so called 3 wise men have had ample time to give a report on their findings but require more time which comes out after the standardbred yearling sale in London! Was this accidental timing I think not, unfortunately some of us will dance to the drummer paying the wasteful bill! I have a suggestion to fall on deaf ears but I*ll try! How about a committee made up of the 2 Senators, perhaps Daryl Kaplan, and perhaps a lawyer with integrity and knowledge and if I remember correctly is a Q.C. Mr. Robert Burgess. If there was any cost involved we the victims would gladly pick up the tab. At least the report would be accurate, timely and truthful! Bullying, stalling and untruth is not doing anything but wasting taxpayer dollars, and yes I*m a horseowner and a Hamilton and Ontario taxpayer! Every once in a while a few politicians step into the light and speak the truth. To these individuals with some integrity and sense of fair play THANK YOU on behalf of us all!

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