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Jamieson, A-Mac On OMAFRA Report

Published: November 1, 2012 8:11 pm ET

Last Comment: November 3, 2012 3:45 pm ET | 24 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Stating that it would be "foolhardy and misguided" to believe Ontario's standardbred industry would exist after three years of "right-sizing" proposed by the OMAFRA Panel Report, drivers Anthony MacDonald and Jody Jamieson have issued a joint public statement.

The press release from Jamieson and MacDonald appears below.

2012 has been a troubling year for those of us involved in horse racing in Ontario. We have all been waiting for the report from province's transition panel with a mixture of fear, anger and faint hope. Our industry and our livelihoods have been hanging in the balance ever since Liberals made horse racing enemy #1.

The panel concedes much of what we already know - the racehorse industry makes a critical contribution to Ontario's rural economy, it's worth saving and the industry is willing to work with government on a new partnership. Then the report moves on to present a model for a sustainable thoroughbred industry, while mapping out the demise - albeit a slower demise than the Liberals planned - for the standardbred industry. Believing that an Ontario standardbred industry will exist after three-years of "right-sizing" proposed by the transition panel is foolhardy and misguided.

We've been inundated with calls and concerns from people in the industry who are, like us, overwhelmed. People are trying hard to figure out how a sustainable horse racing industry balances with a 54 to 77 percent reduction in race dates and a 54 percent reduction in purses. Horses don't eat half as much when they race for half as much; trucks don't run on half-price fuel when hauling to races for half the purse. Veterinarians and farriers don't cut their fees for horses racing less often for less money.

Standardbred people need to come together and we need to take our message across this province. Ontario's standardbred industry needs to speak with one voice - and that voice needs to reflect the industry as a whole - our industry, the standardbred industry.

We have let other people do our talking and they have failed us, attempted to lead us to the gallows. We looked to our province for leadership and they have slammed the door, only offering us shelter under the growing roof of certain unemployment. We have failed ourselves by fragmenting our industry to the point where we no longer have a voice.

A voice is coming, it has to. We are far beyond our backs being against the wall. Solidarity is the only way back, how far back will be up to us.

I can tell you this, we will not be buying saddles and we cannot lay down any longer. This government with a resume of shady dealings and questionable financial decisions is our enemy but it is also everyone else in Ontario's enemy.

This industry has bartered with our silence long enough. We need to stand together for the first time in a very long time as one.

This is a call for unity.

Together we can show this province, this government and ourselves that we are not going to be squeezed out. All of our futures depend on all of us working together.

Jody Jamieson
Anthony MacDonald

On Tuesday, October 30, the long-anticipated OMAFRA Panel Report on the transition of the Ontario horse-racing industry from the slots-at-racetracks program was released to the horse-racing industry. To view and comment on the report, click the following link: OMAFRA Report Released.

November 3, 2012 - 3:45 pmMr Leber was looking for Tim

Tom Gibson SAID...

Mr Leber was looking for Tim Hudak. Looks as though he is hanging around MacDonald and Jamieson these days. Getting up to date on the racing business I presume.

November 2, 2012 - 7:50 pmNow is the time for all

Now is the time for all parties deriving proceeds or benefits from horse racing in Ontario to come together in a non-partisan way. What I have observed from the past seven months is that the standardbred industry is simply crying out for a unified LEADERSHIP to deal with the current crisis. Everyone, from the organizations like NCRHHA, SBOA, COSA, OHHA, CAW, and yes, even WEG, GCG and other tracks need to come together and agree to support a single voice for the industry. That collective voice can be representatives from ALL of the various existing groups, assuming that there is a volunteer from each group willing to donate the time and energy to put to this effort. It does not MATTER what current organization those voices currently belong to. We are not looking to JOIN a new group. We just want to SUPPORT an ADVOCACY organization who we can trust will listen to our concerns, be good guardians of our donations and who can intelligently and effectively deliver our message. In this current string of email comments to the message from Anthony and Jody, several names have been put forth because they have either already stepped up to the plate on the horse-persons behalf or have volunteered to do so. Some very good ideas have been put forth already, but the time for talk is over and the time for action is NOW. Where and when will we get together to ORGANIZE the VOICE? Someone needs to come forward now to make arrangements for everyone to come together so we can agree on next steps. Will someone agree to do this?

November 2, 2012 - 6:34 pmGood recommendations, Paul.

Lynne Magee SAID...

Good recommendations, Paul. This could work but it will still need the support of the members behind it. Somehow, we have to get to them. Perhaps a letter from SC to all Ontario members. I know a lot of people that are not comfortable using the computer--some don't even have them.

November 2, 2012 - 6:24 pmBoy you fella's,wait till too

Boy you fella's,wait till too late,i've been watching this go on since the start,yr&1/2or two;I personally think,played right too their hand&time was their hand,pretty well ran out.the way i see it you still have no clear representation on such an important issue.Why talk now when Jan one it'll be done.they don't even let you all comment on the newest,broadcast;Hope well for you all,for real!!!The CLIFF is CLOSE;Power now!!/Shout now or forever hold your peace!!Sorry to say!It's happened to me before,with BEN WHITE RACEWAY=STUNK=POLITICS;getter done!!!thumbs up!

November 2, 2012 - 4:11 pmJack Darling, Brian Tropea,

Lynne Magee SAID...

Jack Darling, Brian Tropea, Jody Jamieson and Anthony MacDonald have all made excellent points. This is a disappointing report for the standardbred industry while the thoroughbred side escaped relatively unscathed. Good for them. Jody and Anthony have reiterated what many of have been saying from the start--standardbred people need to come together as a whole group to fight for our future in racing. It would seem that the thoroughbred folks have been well represented and the panel paid attention to their needs. However, we got left out in the cold and left for dead. Senator Runciman made some excellent points at his recent meeting. He advised us to get our act together, get a proper group of leaders together and do it NOW! Brian should definitely be in that group. Maybe Robert Burgess as the spokesman if he will do it. The thing is, we don't have time to waste. We have to get this together right now. The entire membership--not just a few hundred.

November 2, 2012 - 1:27 pmJust to clarify.... I am not

Just to clarify.... I am not recommending that we create a separate organization but rather a panel of volunteer members to represent the racing industry and also to monitor the proceeds of the survival fund as well as initiating the appropriate course of action. One alteration already.... we call it the Ontario Horse Racing Survival Fund. Also, I suugested a panel of three members.... it can be extended to more. My suggestions would be Mr. Bob Burgess who has legal connections and is a breeder, Brian Tropea who is Gen Mgr. of OHHA, Senator Bob Runciman, who has the political connections, Mr. Sikura, head of Ontario Thoroughbred Ass. Mr. Gallinger, Pres. of Standardbred Canada and someone from the Quarterhorse Ass. This would give us a broad spectrum of representation from all segments associated with the racing industry. We need to engage everyone to fight the OLG and this gov't with a unified voice.

November 2, 2012 - 12:17 pmAll the talk about forming a

All the talk about forming a seperate organization takes resources and time, which in alot of ways we don't have. The OFA ( Ontario Federation of Agriculture ) already has a huge membership and I am sure alot of standardbred people are members as well and they have supported our fight at arms length until now as this decision has huge ramifications for so many involved in agriculture as well. I am sure the executive of the OFA could put together a panel of members involved in our fight such as Anthony or Jody , Mr Burgess or even Mr. Ruciman among others and get our message across.

November 2, 2012 - 11:55 amI wish to affirm the comments

Joe Travis SAID...

I wish to affirm the comments proposed by Anthony and Jody, with the additional proposals submitted by Mr. Gangle. If there was ever a time for all people and families associated with the standardbred industry to take action, it is now. Please get together and make an genuine attempt to organize and implement these proposals, as it is not just the money that we worry about, but a genuine way of life that will create suffering for many thousands in Ontario. If we let the existing government proposals stand, then only the corrupt and powerful will win, but if we can make a concerted effort to make fellow citizens see how they, too, will lose with the demise of a family oriented industry, then these good people will make their representatives aware of the big mistake they are making by favoring solely real estate, casinos, and the powerful thoroughbred lobbyists.
I believe the comments by the three mentioned above deserve your careful consideration and support. Now, let us do something to save a way of life, as well as other racing jurisdictions who may potentially suffer from these selfish narrow-minded interests.
Set up the account, and you will receive my money and support!
Joe Travis

November 2, 2012 - 11:30 amPatricia, those who opted out

Bobbi Morley SAID...

Patricia, those who opted out of OHHA all had their reasons for doing so, and until those issues are resolved, OHHA will still not represent the entire industry. Maybe starting a new, un-related association with strong, transparent leadership which will focus on ALL horse people, offering a stronger fresher approach would be more productive. We are facing a very large, sophisticated, and wealthy opponent, and we must reply in kind.

November 2, 2012 - 11:25 amJust got a few phone calls

Just got a few phone calls suggesting that we not limit this to OHHA members or racing participants but to extended the membership to anyone who benefits from the racing industry either directly or indirectly. (feed dealers and processors, truck and trailer dealerships, vets, farriers and other horse people from other disciplines,etc.) Keep those suggestions coming!

November 2, 2012 - 10:12 amOK, so I've read all the

OK, so I've read all the comments and everyone including myself are at the point where we realize that something drastic has to be done. Talking amongst ourselves isn't going to do squat. Here is what I am proposing:

A) that we appoint OHHA as our uniformed voice for the Standardbred industry.

B) We elect or appoint a three party executive who are presently leaders in the industry with one official spokesman to represent us (too many voices dilute the message)

C) that we each contribute at least $100. or more if you so choose to OHHA and establish a separate fund and we call it the Standardbred Racing Survival Fund.( this should raise approx. $650,000 or more)

D) that the executive retain a high profile legal firm to launch a multi-billion dollar class action law suit for damages and loss of our livelihoods and compensation for our horses. (this will show the Gov`t that we mean business)

E) that the executive retain a high profile professional ad and public relations agency to create a series of 15 or 30 second TV ads to be shown as commercials during news casts on various major TV stations (everybody watches the news)

F) that the executive also commission the ad agency to create newspaper ads to be published amongst the major newspapers across Ontario ( we have to get our message out to the public as Senator Runciman has advocated.)

G) that we encourage Hudak and Horwath to issue a public statement stating their party`s official position as what they would do for the industry with CONCRETE PROPOSALS and not some vague garbage ( we need to get them to commit to some form of support and get them off the political fence)

H) that the executive issue periodic reports on a separate web site to indicate what other actions they are taking (the membership needs to stay informed)

I) that each member write a form letter or other message to EVERY MPP asking for their support along with a request to order the OLG to cease and desist all FURTHER negotiations with regard to opening any further casinos pending further study (this can be done thru an executive order by the Auditor General or by the Minister of Agriculture because no legislation is required.

These are some of my proposals. If anyone has any other suggestions, please feel free to submit them. Our future and livelihood is at stake and we NOW need to get off our duffs and take AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

November 2, 2012 - 9:04 amAs Jack Darling said "it's

As Jack Darling said "it's time to take the gloves off". We should have done this a long time ago. Our one voice (standard industry) should be OHHA. No one else really cares what happens to standardbred B tracks. I know we need to stand together however some track owners are totally for themselves and that is the fault of ORC who have been notified on many occasions. Too bad so many opted out of OHHA and divided the membership back when we should have been together. Better get a really big protest or court action going FAST. Do not wait until March 31/13. That's much too late.

November 2, 2012 - 7:56 amI would like to commend the

jim rigg SAID...

I would like to commend the efforts of Anthony and Jody as well as the Burgess family,Brian Tropea and all the other folks in our Industry during this troubling time. I am not a casino player, but I am a gambler because I own race horses! This panel's report is a slap in the face for everyone in the horse business. I agree with Jack Darling's "Its time to take the gloves off"; Although we do not have the clout that the Teacher's Union has, perhaps a totally different approach is required such as a complete boycott of Standardbred racing in Ontario and working with Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium along with New York State Racing Authorities and who knows, maybe then the Government and the OLG will see the error of their ways! Don't get mad at me now! Just thinking out loud!

November 2, 2012 - 6:08 amRUFF, RUFF, RUFF, etc,.......

Diane Lord SAID...

RUFF, RUFF, RUFF, etc,....... For those who don't understand it means,......TALK, TALK, TALK,....etc.

November 2, 2012 - 4:00 amIt's ALLWAYS been my stance

Tom Kelly SAID...

It's ALLWAYS been my stance that we need one umbrella group ! Woodbine and Mohawk have large parking lots ,if they would let us hold a rally in support of a hotel casino along with a shared revenue from slots then let's stop talking and make our bets ! Mr. Sikura is a great guy, he is a hockey person and also a friend. OLG knew that when they came out with the report to separate the horsemen and women from each other...It's an old anti union tactic so don't think the Liberals 33MPPs in the GTA army arnt going to this election without their support of a casino resort on FRONT ST.I'm hoping we will stand together with all RACING in the province? After 35 years on the railway,I became involved with the men and women at ORANGEVILLE RACEWAY back in 1992 . I am a lifetime member of THE UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION...MARCH 31 2013. NEW AGREEMENT NEW GOVERNMENT NEW FUTURE FOR ALL HORSERACING IN OTARIO..SANTA ARE YOU LISTENING ? TOM KELLY SC GROOM 1392....

November 2, 2012 - 12:54 amI also wished to respond to

Dave Nicol SAID...

I also wished to respond to the OHHA comments however comments are not being received on this entry. I wish to congratulate these two friends of us all for their valuable input. It takes guts to buck the trend and doesn*t go unnoticed by horse people like myself. As I am not a fast typist it takes me a while to type out my thoughts. If you*re interested they*re posted on the OMAFRA report. As you*ll notice I covered a lot of the same concerns in a different format. I swear there has been no collusion between these two gentlemen and I or OHHA and I. We the standardbred horse people have had enough of playing fair and getting the shi**y end of the stick. We are blessed with many leaders so please step forward and lead! I along with many other horse people have our checkbooks ready to help. I always expect value for money spent but much of it has been wasted so far. You lead and we*ll supply the means necessary! Together maybe a miracle will happen.I wish!

November 2, 2012 - 12:41 amI agree 100 percent that the

I agree 100 percent that the Liberal government has failed the industry and the transitional panel has presented a totally misguided solution that ties race dates to para mutual wagering and by doing that the standardbred industry will be devastated. What i dont agree with is that this plan was created or endorsed by the people you describe as the other people who did our talking. I assume that we are referring to OHRIA and WEG or Dennis Mills and I have looked through their responses and what I read was a desire and hope that the Liberals would now begin to negotiate in good faith. I am not convinced that the Liberals will negotiate in good faith but I also know that the Pc and NDP have zero power to negotiate until they win the next election. I have not talked to any person who believes that tying race dates and purse accounts to wagering totals makes any sense and I believe that OHRIA fully understands the flaws with this model but they have decided that it would be good policy to not insult the transition panel or the Liberals in print but unfortunately it has cost them support. A good dose of good cop bad cop might just be what the doctor ordered but I hope the next protest has more teeth than a rally of PC MPP'S AT Queens Park in fact why not shut down a casino because only then will the public understand that everybody is sacrificing to be there.Horseman protest,OHRIA negotiates Who knows maybe it works.

November 1, 2012 - 11:56 pmGreat to hear from you two

Georg Leber SAID...

Great to hear from you two guys. The drivers have been silent. Anthony, I agree with some of the other posts. You have to get Tim Hudak to make an official announcement as to what he would do if he wins the next election. He just can't say he is opposed to what the Liberals are doing. I know he is deathly afraid of this being something that will lose city votes, but if he wants to keep the rural vote he has to speak up. I know politicians don't have the courage and conviction of a driver, but that's why he has you.

I will pledge my part in all of this. Money, time whatever you need.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

November 1, 2012 - 11:31 pmI am in full agreement with

Karry Howard SAID...

I am in full agreement with the OHHA response to the OMAFRA Panel Report and with the statement from Jody and Anthony. But unity requires leadership. Chuck Ibey has offered a good starting point. TELL US WHAT YOU WANT US TO DO!!

November 1, 2012 - 10:01 pmI agree with Bill, the only

Jamie Higgs SAID...

I agree with Bill, the only the way to derail the runaway OLG train is to have the NDP or PC's go on record supporting by re-establishing of the sarp program with slight amendments if needed, Subject to negotiations which the Industry is open to and what should have transpired in the first place. Let Paul Godfrey know he might want to put the brakes on as an election is near and his friends will be sent packing.

November 1, 2012 - 9:58 pmI agree 100%. Let us know

Peggy Powell SAID...

I agree 100%. Let us know what we can do.If you need financial support lets everyone start contributing what we can.

November 1, 2012 - 9:38 pmWell said boys. For a

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Well said boys. For a starter set up a meeting with OHHA exec; Racing Future, Senator Runciman, Bob Burgess and some of the politicians from the NDP and PCs that have been solidly behind racing and start to map a plan of action and alternative plans for the Gov't to look at, to move the industry forward. It is obvious Mr Godfrey is calling the shots right now. It may also be a good idea if anyone is still close to any Liberal MPP to start bending their ear over this as they know change is coming. JMO

Chuck Ibey

November 1, 2012 - 9:02 pmI am in full agreement with

Bill Mackay SAID...

I am in full agreement with one voice for OHHA. I would like that one voice, to have both leaders of the Opposition parties state that the proposed changes outlined in the OMAFRA report is a non starter will not move forward if they are elected. Mr.Hudak and Ms Horvath please say what you plan to "do", an "do" what you say.
Bill Mackay

November 1, 2012 - 8:55 pmcount me in

John Fallone SAID...

count me in

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