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Did The Liberals Snub Rural Ontario?

Published: February 23, 2012 3:56 pm ET

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Reaction has been plentiful and opinions varied to last week's Drummond Report, but there is one common theme emanating from the masses that has refused to go away. Many believe that the provincial Liberals have chosen to offload its deficit problems to the province's vast and vibrant rural population.

The latest to take this position is Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington, who penned a pointed column on Wednesday, February 22.

In his piece, Warmington pulls no punches when it comes to what he sees the Ontario Liberal Government trying to do with its upcoming budget. Warmington has come to the conclusion that the provincial government has chosen to attempt to hurt rural Ontarians economically because it cannot balance its own books.

Warmington has come to this conclusion based on the thinking that the provincial Liberals are trying to renege on its slots-at-racetracks agreement and, therefore, essentially ruin a economically positive rural industry without cause.

In his column, Warmington wrote:

What this really is, is sneering, urban Liberal elites looking down their noses of rural ‘hicks and hillbillies’ at its most insulting and ugliest.

It’s also transferring the $16-bilion-deficit reality of their pathetic management onto the backs of these ‘lowbrow country people’ they think have no power or voice.


Warmington's column also contains quotes from 31-year-old driver Bob McClure, who chose to highlight the overtly negative ramifications which would become reality if the Ontario Liberals are able to transform the recommendation into reality.

“It’s not just the drivers or jockeys or trainers who will face extinction,” McClure was quoted as saying. “What about the veterinarians, janitors, off-track operators, tack shop people, blacksmiths and farmers who grow the feed? Where are they all going to go? Some are definitely going to end up on welfare and there has got to be a cost to that.”

McClure went on to say, “I make five per cent of what the horses I drive win, and I have never received one penny from government. The part the hurts us is we all feel we have [lived up to our end of the] agreement, [and] that we have honoured [it] with the OLG and the government, and that they should continue to as well.”

(With files from the Toronto Sun)

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