Karper Sends Open Letter To Massicotte

Published: February 13, 2009 12:47 pm EST

Rick Karper, former president of the Association Trot et Amble du Quebec (ATAQ), has penned an open letter to Attractions Hippiques owner Paul Massicotte

. In the letter, Karper explains why as a horse owner he cannot accept the bailout proposal for Attractions Hippiques which is currently on the table.

In addition to sending the letter to Massicotte, Karper also copied Monique Jerome-Forget (Minister of Finance), Jean Charest (Prime Minister), Florent Gagné (SONACC), Michel St-Louis (ATAQ), Chantale Courcy (CPMA) and Yves Vincent (Monitor).

The letter appears below in its entirety.

Paul Massicotte
Owner, Attractions Hippiques (Montreal) S.E.C.
7440 boulevard Decarie
Montreal, QC
H4P 2H1

February 13, 2009

Dear Paul;

As you know, I was actively involved in welcoming Attractions Hippiques to the scene in 2006 as the then President of ATAQ and I worked with you for the betterment of harness racing in Montreal and the success of Attractions Hippiques.

I watched every minute of the Parliamentary Commission this past summer and in recent weeks, I have sat through several days of testimony in the Quebec Superior court and attended the meeting of interested parties at the Hippodrome de Montréal which you called.

My interest is to see that racing flourishes in Montreal. After listening to all the testimony and presentations, I have come to the conclusion that the Monitor’s proposal does not come close to meeting this goal and I have decided to take a public stand.

I understand your position. As a businessman, you are trying to avoid failure and hoping to save your company. I am truly sorry for the turn of events, however, as a horse owner and major harness racing fan in Montreal, I cannot accept the proposal on the table, which excludes any live racing in the Montreal area, even if it is blessed by the Minister of Finance.

At the moment, there isn’t any contract between Attractions Hippiques (Montreal) and any CPMA recognized horsemen’s group and you shouldn’t be operating pari-mutuel operations in the Montreal assigned territory. Also, because you haven’t respected the SONACC contract, your right to benefit from the operation of VLTs in Montreal should be terminated.


The villain in this situation has to be the Liberal government. The stated goal of the government in August 2005 when they released the 'appel de propositions' for the takeover of the racetracks and OTBs operated by SONACC was to “revive and develop the horse racing industry in Quebec”. At the time, there was very little consultation between the government and the racing associations. Further negotiations with the bidders and ultimate winner were confidential. We, the horsemen, found out some, but not all of the details through the back door. Now that the deal between Attractions Hippiques and the government (SONACC, Loto-Quebec) has fallen apart, the government has, once again, chosen to resolve the situation without the input of the horsemen. Something’s rotten in the state of Quebec. Doesn’t the government know or care how much the victims are suffering?

We were promised a racetrack in the Montreal area and a share of the profit from 1,300 VLTs. That’s what we want. No more. No less.

Yours truly,

Rick Karper

Monique Jerome-Forget, Minister of Finance
Jean Charest, Prime Minister
Florent Gagné, SONACC
Michel St-Louis, ATAQ
Chantale Courcy, CPMA
Yves Vincent, Monitor



way to go rick we need more peoples like you to speak the true of what going on behind close doors you are a true supporter of this crazy business that we are in whishto see you back in the ataq we need guys like you that are not afraid to give theirs opinion

There is no reason they can't get the same deal as Ontario..........don't be greedy Attractions Hippiques................this is only making you look bad....long live horse racing in Quebec........the future is now.......

Congratulations and thank you for this effort and hopefully this will help the situation get better, I know you as the biggest fan of horse racing in Montreal.

For reasons known only to themselves, the members of the Quebec Government have decided that the harness racing industry's problems can be settled without the involvment of the very people who work and invest in it. This is not only my opinion but it is a fact confirmed by my recent attempt to arrange a meeting with a member of the cabinet ( and the MNA for my riding).
Naively, I thought that my credentials as former University professor,businessman, significant donor to various charities in the jurisdiction and as owner of a Breeders Crown winner in 2008 would at least earn me a hearing even for a very few minutes of the Minister's time. Alas, after almost three weeks I have heard nothing from either the MNA or any of his assistants. And this from someone who allegedly represents a riding which is home to at least ten (10) farms involved in harness racing!
It is my understanding that other owners living in my riding have made similar attempts to meet the Minister all to no avail.
One can only wonder where he gets the information on which to base his participation in the Cabinet discussions leading to the formulation of the Government's negotiating position in this file.

Mr.Rick Karper, thank you for hitting the nail on the head.I have read so much about this situation and kept all my comments to myself because nothing made sense on this matter and there is defintly a hidden agenda between the LIBERAL government and the LIBERAL senator. I have lost over $250,000.of my hard earned money by 2006 and was almost out of the horse race business because of Pauline Marois when she pulled the rug from under the horsemen.Then came along a new hope "The government giving up their control of horse racing to private control,to revive and develop the horseracing industry in Quebec".Like a fool I believed it and invested more of my hard earned money into this business which I love so much because of the horses,such a beautiful and nobel animal.Again I am in such a precarious situation financialy because of my belief in this government to help the horsemen. When I hear of such one-sided deals between the LIBERAL government and the LIBERAL senator to save POOR Paul Massicotte's company Attractons Hippiques.And the 3000 people in this industry, WHAT ABOUT THEM ? If this is a one-sided deal then most horsemen will be banqrupt {including myself}. Mr.Massicotte,remember if we go down,we will do everything in our power to bring you down with us into banqruptcy. Why do we , the horsemen, feel this way about you? because you gave us "HOPE" and then you took it away from us. SHAME ON YOU !


Good letter RicK, it beats the "sign now and we'll worry later syndrome"

We are glad to see that you are back from "THE DARK SIDE"

(We wish you well on this new campaign initiative!)

Best Wishes
Princess Leah