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McNaughton: No Celebrations For Racing

Published: March 11, 2013 4:44 pm ET

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Today, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC MPP Monte McNaughton responded to what he calls "recent back-patting government announcements" stating that there will be horse racing in Ontario this year.

“The recent announcements are nothing more than a glorified farm-day field trip for our part-time Agriculture Minister,” said McNaughton. “The only problem is that her government caused this problem to begin with. Had her government not decided to walk away from the successful slots at racetrack program, then she wouldn’t need to be handing out subsidies, feeding horses and taking pictures.”

One year ago the Liberal government announced it would end the successful SARP program, putting 55,000 jobs at risk and causing significant chaos throughout the industry. It has been reported that thousands of jobs have already been lost with the potential for thousands more in the days and weeks ahead.

“We’re into the second week of March and the government is only now starting to realize the crisis that they have created in rural Ontario. At this point top trainers would normally have their entire season planned out, but here in Ontario they don’t have any race dates, any purse amounts or any other details,” said McNaughton. “Despite what the Premier says, the 2013 Calendar of Ontario Race Days as approved by the Ontario Racing Commission says otherwise. There is not a single race scheduled for the 2013 season. Not one.”

The government does not have agreements to run horse racing in 2013 at 8 of 14 tracks including: Windsor, Hiawatha, Fort Erie, Sudbury, Kawartha, Rideau, Ajax, Dresden and Woodstock and has not scheduled any races for the 2013 Ontario horse racing season.

“Ontario has 573,000 people currently unemployed, the Premier has decided to wager another 55,000 jobs with her rushed decision to end the successful SARP partnership and instead offer a government subsidy, there are no races on the schedule for 2013 and still no details coming from our part-time Agriculture Minister about her plans for horse racing in 2013”, summarized McNaughton.

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