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OHRIA To Get Aggressive?

Published: March 1, 2013 2:37 pm ET

Last Comment: March 3, 2013 12:46 pm ET | 15 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In a release issued on Friday, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association announced that its board of directors approved an aggressive campaign in the event that negotiations with the government fall through.

The full release appears below.

With only one month remaining before the industry’s share of revenue from the Slots at Racetracks Program ends, OHRIA is asking all industry participants to remain united in our strategy and messaging with Government.

With only weeks remaining, it is more important than ever for the industry to remain strong together and to remain united.  This is not the time, yet, for radical thinking.

OHRIA is cautiously optimistic that Premier Kathleen Wynne is reviewing the current plan with the intention to provide the horse racing and breeding industry with a better, more sustainable plan for the future.

However, OHRIA is asking the industry to be on the ready should we need you to stand up for our industry if these current negotiations fail to bring the results our industry needs to survive.

The OHRIA Board of Directors, in a meeting last week, approved an aggressive campaign and agreed that funds must be raised to implement it. These funds have been received and continue to flow in.

OHRIA continues to fight for the entire horse racing and breeding industry and we need the industry ready to stand up should our latest negotiations with government not yield results.


March 3, 2013 - 12:46 pmBruce, I agree the Ontario

Allan Schott SAID...

Bruce, I agree the Ontario Liberals must be severely punished at the polls for their actions, however it will be a small consolation to those who are now seeking new careers or about to go through financial ruin.

It is easy for me to sit back and criticize but as mentioned at the Harness Congress in Florida, government allowed slots for their own benefit only. They selected tracks to place them at as a path of least resistance. They have now decided (incorrectly for the most part) that they can put the casinos closer to the population centers to allow people to more easily be taxed voluntarily by throwing their money through slots. It was never about helping horse racing.

When they announced their plans last year, it was time to get agressive. Rural Ontario should have been dumping grain in front of Queen's Park, held back their yields from the market in a step to bring the government to its senses or have it fall.

I have little faith in the NDP or PC either. They had their opportunity to bring the Liberals down and they decided to do nothing except give speeches.

March 2, 2013 - 9:37 pmThanks, OHRIA for continuing

Lynne Magee SAID...

Thanks, OHRIA for continuing to fight for the horse racing industry. I'm not denying that you have done and continue to do so but, as we have witnessed over the past year, your efforts have been unsuccessful. Just ask the thousands that have already lost their jobs or the owners that have, with broken hearts, had to euthanize newborn foals, abort broodmares, cull their stock, sell out completely or move animals out of Ontario and the breeders who can hardly give away a stallion breeding or their youngsters. Ask the vets whose business is down 60% as stated by Dr. Bernd Kretzschmar, one of the best equine surgeons in the province. I've talked to several businesses that rely on the racing industry for much of their income and they are all seeing decreases from 20% up. As stated in previous comments, radical action should have been taken months ago. The longer we patiently waited, the more people and horses we lost. With the numbers diminished and many horsepeople thinking of getting out while they can, whatever actions need to be taken to "stand up" to the government had better be radical enough to catch their attention. Even at that, it may not be enough to make a difference. We needed to get rid of this deluded, short-sighted, corrupt government when the last budget was on the table.
P.S. We are and have been (for 12 months) "ready to stand up" any time that our leadership says the word.

March 2, 2013 - 5:25 pmTo get agressive? Seriously?

Kevin Gillis SAID...

To get agressive? Seriously? Im sorry but the days of getting aggressive have passed. The lights have already turned off. ORHIA must be under a misapprehension if they think we have been waiting with baited breath for them to call in the troops and save the day. When the announcement was made last year to end the Slots agreement, that was the appropriate time to launch an attack...not when Horse People, bettors included, have packed up their tents and gone home.
And yet they tell us to hang on...disgraceful.

March 2, 2013 - 2:15 pmWasn't the time for radical

Don Patrick SAID...

Wasn't the time for radical action about a year ago? The OHRIA is waiting until it's too late before doing something drastic. No surprise to me at all.

March 2, 2013 - 11:33 ammother always told me late is


mother always told me late is better than not at all........
should have took the aggressive approach from the get go like the olg did.
we show up at the gun fight with knives... maybe next time we ll be ready if there is a next time? AL

March 2, 2013 - 11:31 amWith any influence I have, I

With any influence I have, I wish to confirm that I totally support this new initiative by the directors of OHRIA.
MJ Pappin-Lamoureux has summarized our two objectives very clearly.

Robert B Burgess

March 2, 2013 - 8:56 amWhile I appreciate all of the

Tom Knight SAID...

While I appreciate all of the efforts, meetings, and negotiations on our behalf by all of the horse industry organizations, it is time to draw a line in the sand.
My truck and trailer have been sitting for months waiting for the order to block the driveways of casinos>racetracks.
It`s time to hit the government where they have hit us as an industry-in the wallet!
The time for action is NOW!

March 2, 2013 - 7:08 amShouldn't the organizations

Tom Gibson SAID...

Shouldn't the organizations that represent Ontario harness racing gotten "aggressive" long ago. Now, with a month left in the program there going to get involved.

March 2, 2013 - 6:09 amIf its true that they are

murray brown SAID...

If its true that they are about to get aggressive, then its about time. Actually I hope it isn't past time.

March 1, 2013 - 6:07 pmHopefully we are witnessing

Hopefully we are witnessing the demise of the Ontario Liberal party. This bunch has ruined Ontario in every respect. Not one Liberal candidate should get elected in the next election. The next election can not come soon enough. Bruce T. Winning

March 1, 2013 - 4:52 pmThere is no doubt we as a

Dave Nicol SAID...

There is no doubt we as a group have been more than patient waiting for the white knight to save us! We wonder if he or she, like the government have also been prorogued? We are in the twelfth hour and patience is a virtue we are quickly losing. It is time our leadership started leading! Tell us what is required and we*ll empty our piggy banks to assist and or fire up the trucks and trailers! Submitted with no intent to cause malice to anyone.

March 1, 2013 - 4:45 pmThe government has branded

The government has branded our partnership a subsidy-a parnership that has contributed billions of dollars to government coffers -yet the private casinos are losing millions of taxpayer dollars - and that's a partnership?
Tannenbaum is getting 47% from his slot machines - the tracks got 20% for their slot machines - is that fair?
Most of the race track operators have reached secret agreements with the OLG.
Isn't this called divide and conquer?
Our Premier has already been quoted as saying the industry must be down sized and that the OLG's "modernization" plan is the right one.
Horses are disappearing and good people are getting out of the business!
Who will be left to fight the good fight?.

March 1, 2013 - 4:44 pmA little late don't you

Dave Snowden SAID...

A little late don't you think- wait until all but 2 tracks sign and take all our leverage away..

March 1, 2013 - 3:44 pmI respectfully disagree with

I respectfully disagree with OHRIA on their assessment of the current situation. The time to force the issue was 11 month ago. I find it disappointing how the head of an organization said to be in negotiations with the government has left it literately to the eleventh hour with no negotiated settlement or even an idea of what is coming down the pipe.
The racetracks being part of the OHRIA panel could have stopped negotiating with OLG and force a continuation (no racing no slots) before a thorough review. The government can not loose this revenue and with no other facilities ready to take over would have put us in to the driver seat.
To wait and see approach has cost our company 60% of its income, so in conclusion that leadership should have been more radical 11 month ago.


Dr. Bernd Kretzschmar

March 1, 2013 - 2:59 pmOnly need two things....A)

Only need two things....A) revenue share to support purse structure and race dates and B) to be inclusive of the OLGs gaming strategy for Ontario. Without those it continues to be a very sad day for tens of thousands of people, horses and communities in rural Ontario.

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