Leslie On Auditor General Review

Published: April 18, 2013 04:00 pm EDT

"It's going to be very difficult from all the facts I have for the Auditor General to be able to support the decision of the McGuinty government."

As the horse racing industry continues to search for answers as to why the government chose to end the successful slots-at-racetracks program in 2012, many look forward to hearing the result of the Auditor General's report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.'s expansion plans and the cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program. That announcement came last Wednesday, and OHRIA's Sue Leslie commented on where she feels horse racing sits in an interview with Trot Radio's Norm Borg.

"We're confident there were no economic studies done, there was no cost evaluation studies done, there was no economic evaluation done on what horse racing and breeding brings to Ontario," said Leslie. "We believe this was just an arbitrary decision encouraged by the OLG, who wanted 100 per cent of the gaming dollars in the province and it was done without any regard to the effect on individual citizens, on the horse racing industry, or on the economics of Ontario."

When asked what the result will be if the Auditor General does find the government did not perform due diligence or made one-off deals in the OLG modernization announcement from March 2012, Leslie hoped that Premier Kathleen Wynne would take "immediate action" and pause the OLG modernization strategy.

While this investigation by the Auditor General does not allow for direct investigation into possible conflicts of interest, Leslie notes that an amendment to this motion has been brought forth and was not voted in as the vote ended in a tie. Leslie feels that in the event that the amendment doesn't pass, there's a possibility that these perceived conflicts could surface on their own.

"I would encourage anyone in the industry that has information that they believe legitimate - not rumours - legitimate information that they believe should be in the hands of the Auditor General to get a hold of his office and provide it."

Leslie says that the audit should start next week and is well aware that the current Auditor General Jim McCarter may not be able to see this audit through to its conclusion as he announced earlier that he'd be stepping down on May 1.

"Our PR firm is working with that office to make sure that continuity and the facts and the information that's getting forwarded passes from one hand to the next."

Would a pro-horse racing conclusion from the audit mark a return and rebirth of the slots-at-racetracks program? Leslie isn't confident Ontario will ever have an official "slots-at-racetracks" program again.

"I personally don't think it will return, particularly in the form that it was. I'm hopeful that there may be some form of slot revenue sharing at some racetracks but I would doubt very much that there's going to be an industry program called slots-at-racetracks going forward."

To listen the to the full interview between Borg and Leslie, click the play button below.

Trot Radio Episode 292 - OHRIA's Sue Leslie

Audio Format: MP3 audio

Host: Norm Borg



I would also suggest to the Auditor General to ask the Integrity Comissioner to assist with His investigation.

I think we are all reasonably convinced that it was 3 or 4 individuals who created this mess.....2 Liberals and likely 2 from the OLG. I'm not sure when the process was started, or the real reason it started, but one can reasonably conclude that these 4 needed some form of endorsement (such as it was) through the Drummond Report before they pulled the trigger. The snowball affect of the SARP decision by elected officials has the industry on life support. The breeding industry has virtually disappeared. Race days are lost. Purses are reduced. People have lost jobs. Homes, farms and businesses are in jeopardy. And, after all that, the Province is not any closer to having even one new casino than they were at this time last year. I'm not convinced this is all about casinos. When it comes time to vote , I'll never forget the comment made by Dwight Duncan during an interview with John Tory at the recent Liberal Leadership Convention......"we have to stop giving money to the horseracing industry".......my comment would be..."we have to stop giving money and votes to the Liberal Party"

All the AG has to do is to look in the Hansard records in May 15, 2012, and review the comments that Duncan made regarding the contacting and consultation with the OHRIA, which never took place! Furthermore, the OLG's timing and secret meetings with Race Tracks and US Casinos to prepare their agenda of 29 Sites for Casinos. Also to check the reason McGuinty changed the wording of the Referendum Act to enable the OLG to go forward without worrying about a referendum vote. In a previous article that appeared on this site many months ago McGuinty's gov't said It would ignore a Referendum vote thereby, proving this Gov't and the OLG acted in a devious and secretive manner.

Ginny - the Auditor General did not "accept" the audit. He is instructed by the Ontario legislature. He is also not stepping down due to any conflict of interest, his term is up. Jim McCarter has done an excellent job for the past ten years, I hope the next appointee is as good and honest.

I can only hope that this audit brings out the truth about the under handed deals that the OLG and the McGuinty government have been shoving down the Province and Horse Industries throats.
And why is the Auditor General Jim McCarter stepping down after accepting the Audit???? Is there some conflict of interest???? Just sayin.....

Exactly Norm. With all the big trainers as well as some of the smaller trainers heading south of the border, how much revenue are we losing to the US now. These moron politicians have no idea what devistation they have caused.

I am sorry to say that I think to much damage has already been done to the racing industry. Even if the auditor does find in our favour it will take the breeding industry years to rebuild itself. If that is even possible. Numerous mares and stallions have already left the province and wjll never trust the government enough to return. Who would ever have faith in such a government again? By the time anything can be done many will have lost their farms, homes, families and horses. This is a very expensive business and many of us can not wait around to see if things might possibly get better. Our horses and families needed this action long ago ,before parliament was shut down by the Liberals. I would find it very rewarding to see the Auditor General let the entire country know just what the Liberals are trying to do. I think that this scandal could be the biggest and most corrupt of all and there are too many to count. Without a healthy breeding industry, the racing industry will soon feel the fall out and slowly disappear, thus giving the casinos a monopoly on gambeling. Just what the Liberals want.

Excellent job Norm.In the mean time Rideau Carleton will have 62% less races in 2013 and purses are down 35%. Now try to earn a living racing once every 3 weeks for that much less money. Complete destruction of the industry in Ottawa. Most people are getting out or heading south of the border.

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