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OHRIA To Ont. Liberal Leadership Candidates: Stand Up For Horse Racing

Published: December 27, 2012 2:47 pm ET

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On Thursday, December 27, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association issued a press release calling on the Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidates to stand up for the provincial horse-racing industry.

The contents of the release appear below.

OHRIA Calls on Liberal Leadership Candidates to Stand Up for Horse Racing

The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association is calling on all Liberal Leadership candidates to take a stand now in support of Ontario's horse racing and breeding industry. A new Premier is in the position to take immediate action to stop the needless loss of jobs that is already happening across the province.

The horse racing industry is about to enter the second horse breeding season with the uncertainty that the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program brings, without any solution that ensures a meaningful opportunity for horse racing to continue in Ontario.

This leaves the province's superior bloodstock, which is the backbone of Ontario's horse breeding industry, at risk as breeders are dispersing their horses to other jurisdictions. If this continues, Ontario's horse racing industry will be left without a supply of new horses that are necessary for the industry's continued growth.

In recent days, the PCs and NDP have offered meaningful solutions to protect the 55,000 jobs related to horse racing and breeding and the more than $2 billion dollars in economic activity this industry generates in our province. A number of leadership candidates have also spoken out in support of Ontario's horse racing industry including Eric Hoskins, who has provided a specific commitment to review the industry within 60 days of forming government.

"March 31 is looming large in our industry, because that is the day the Slots at Racetracks Program is scheduled to end and the province has yet to provide a clear solution to allow our industry to move forward," said Sue Leslie, president of OHRIA.

With time running out, and the government expected to change in less than a month, OHRIA is calling on Liberal Leadership candidates to signal they will continue the current Slots at Racetracks Program, while a sustainable future for the industry can be negotiated.

"When Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan announced the most significant changes to the history of gaming in Ontario in more than forty years, no one knew they were planning to leave politics before seeing it through. It isn't fair to anyone to have the current OLG modernization strategy forced on communities, while the horse racing and breeding industry is devastated, before the next Premier even has a say in what is happening," added Leslie.

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