Horwath Questions Wynne Over Layoffs

Published: March 25, 2013 03:28 pm EDT

On Monday, March 25 during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature, Andrea Horwath, leader of the province's New Democratic Party, questioned Premier Kathleen Wynne about the recent job losses at The Raceway at the Western Fair District in London, Ont.

Western Fair announced this past weekend that it was forced to lay off roughly 20 employees.

“As a result of the cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program...we had to make a small staff adjustment,” Heather Blackwell, corporate affairs manager at the Western Fair, was quoted as saying.

On Monday in the Legislature, Horwath said, “This government (the minority Ontario Liberal Government) hobbled the horse-racing industry and threw family farms into chaos when it put down the slots-at-racetracks partnership. Even communities like London that were spared outright track closures are now dealing with the fallout."

Horwath then asked, “Can the Premier please explain to the 20 workers who are about to lose their jobs at the Western Fair Raceway what’s so ‘modern’ and ‘sustainable’ about unemployment?”

The contents of the Ontario NDP Party's release on the issue appear below.

The release is followed by video of the exchange in the Legislature, which also features Ontario Minister of Rural Affairs Jeff Leal responding to Horwath's questions.

Liberal Plans Costing Jobs in London: Horwath

During Question Period today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath stood up for workers at London’s Western Fair Raceway who are facing layoffs because of Liberal plans for the slots-at-racetracks program.

“This government hobbled the horse racing industry and threw family farms into chaos when it put down the slots-at-racetracks partnership. Even communities like London that were spared outright track closures are now dealing with the fallout,” said Horwath.

“Can the Premier please explain to the 20 workers who are about to lose their jobs at the Western Fair Raceway what’s so ‘modern’ and ‘sustainable’ about unemployment?”

The Premier, who is also Minister of Agriculture and Food, handed off the question like a hot potato. Horwath noted that the government’s plans don’t seem to take into account the impact on workers and their families.

“This government is gambling with the future of the horse racing industry, and families across Ontario are losing their shirts. Western Fair Raceway made the government’s cut, but that’s cold comfort for the families of 20 workers who have been put out to pasture,” said Horwath.

The NDP Leader put it simply, “Since when does ‘modernization’ entail limping along without a steady paycheque?”

Andrea Horwath (NDP) and Jeff Leal (Liberal) in the Ontario Legislature on Monday, March 25, 2013



I agree with everything Peggy said. I think some will barley survive, but it will be the end of the line for thousand who work in the industry.All the government cares about are Casino's. Build them everywhere and then we will see what social issues will arise. Bus all the seniors in with their pension cheques, give them a cheap lunch and watch them blow all their money.There is some back door deals that have happened.Lets hope those involved get caught and exposed.

What we need is for the PC's & the N D P to have all their elected members be in Pariliment on the 28th when the private member reads his bill to stop the OLG .When the member reads his bill we the horse community need everyone from both parties to stand and cheer . Perhaps then the liberals will get their heads out of the sand. In light of the fact that Ceaser's laid off 38 unionized workers on monday maybe, just maybe the Liberals will realize the foolhardinessof the O L G's modernization plans.

keith hastie

This all could have been avoided if her party would have voted the last budget down. Horwath knew what was going to happen yet chose to sit on the fence and watch. I don't have any faith in any one of these three parties. Time for an independent to win the next election. Turn these three blind mice out.

Nothing like the government to kill jobs instead of creating them. Enough is Enough. When is the light bulb going to come on for people!!!

They are still collecting over $150,000 a year of our tax dollars for playing out this sick game.

Didn't we tell Horwath last spring at budget time that thousands of job losses were inevitable and that rural Ontario was going to be hit the hardest---again? And what did she do then----sat on her hands along with her party members and allowed the Liberals to stay in power. Now, just six days before the end of SARP and the loss of many more jobs and farms,she starts asking questions??? Just a tad past the point where you could really have made a difference to those 20 people, the 100 plus at WEG and all the other tracks that have closed their door or downsized to accommodate the Liberals' and the OLG's so-called "modernization plan".

The question was put to premier Wynne, why didn't she answer the question ?? The speaker of the house should have insisted that the premier answer the question. The answer that Jeff Leal gave is unacceptable. Why doesn't premier Wynne reign in the OLG? These layoffs are just the tip of the problem. The people of Ontario deserve a much better effort from the people at Queen's Park. Very disappointing. Just thinking Bruce T. Winning......

So far all it is,is talk. Where was she at the last budget,she opted to ride the fence instead of bringing the liberals government down.quit talking and do something.

Let's get a few things straight. The Liberals ,then and now, are carrying out their original plan. Dwight Duncan said in the beginning, that there would be 5 or 6 tracks survive. What do we have today, 6 tracks have signed on but were denied any details about WHEN, WHERE and How they were to conduct business. At least we, the ones who most need to know , were denied this information. Will there be racing at Flamboro or Georgian after March 31. Who knows ? Nobody!Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals know very well what they are doing. They are making all of us wait until all of their back room deals are completed and signed with our blood before they tell us their new plan. By then ,it will be too late for us or anyone else to stop it. The PCs and the NDPs should have stopped this long ago. This is the most outrageous deal I, or anyone for that matter ,have ever had to deal with. Five days from now ,where are we going to race our horses? Should we get rid of our horses? Should we put new shoes on them? Should I buy more hay and feed? Should I put new tires on the truck? Will I need any new harnesses, race bikes or equipment? Will I be able to pay the vet or my stall rent? What about my mortgage or my childrens education? Will I even be able to put food on the table? These are some of the questions that a good many of us are asking ourselves every day now . When will it all end?????? The welfare lines are a good start. Where we will a year from now , no one knows. Maybe the OLG will hire us.

Good point Fish....one would also wonder why Ms. Horwath and the NDP decided not to shoot down the provincial budget which would have halted the controversial OLG modernization plan dead in it's tracks. I'm afraid it's too little too late. I firmly believe that NDP and the PC's parties have waited too long to right all the wrong's the Liberal have put forth to the horse racing industry. Although the Liberal's feel that horse racing in Ontario should be smaller they do not seem to care that unemployment in Ontario will be bigger, way BIGGER.

Why would she not also mention the WEG layoffs from just last month???

In a release WEG said “109 salaried positions and a significant number of hourly positions” have been axed...

WOW.......... what a great answer...... Thanks alot Liberals for nothing..... SLIPPERY, is all I think and words can't express the discomfort as we wait for the dust to settle. Some needs to knock some sense into these liberals.