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Liberals Remain Vague; Transitional Funding "Coming Soon"

Published: June 6, 2012 1:55 pm ET

Last Comment: June 7, 2012 1:18 am ET | 9 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Tuesday, June 5 in the Ontario Legislature, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Agricultural Minister Ted McMeekin were grilled over the lack of consultation with the provincial horse-racing industry in light of the government's abrupt and illogical withdrawal from the mutually-beneficial and highly lucrative slots-at-racetracks program.

Calling out the Finance Minister for his previous, less-than-genuine comments regarding how he had met with the horse-racing industry for consultation, MPP Taras Natyshak wished to set the record straight. He highlighted how Minister Duncan chose to equate a brief, chance encounter with a horse-racing participant at a posh fundraising event as 'consultation' with the industry.

The following is an excerpt from Natyshak in the legislature:

Mr. Taras Natyshak: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture. When asked two weeks ago about the need to consult with the horse racing industry, the Minister of Finance claimed that he met with the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, saying that he “sought their advice on how to move forward.” In fact, the minister was referring to a $500-a-head fundraiser he had held the previous night, and the individual he met with did not speak on behalf of OHRIA.

Does the Minister of Agriculture agree with the Minister of Finance’s new definition of consultation?

Later in the exchange, Natyshak stuck to his guns and again called for a firm date from the provincial government in regard to consultation with the industry.

…The folks in the horse racing industry are waiting to hear from their Minister of Agriculture as to the effects of this (the scrapping of the SAR Program) on rural Ontario. Obviously he’s not involved in any of the consultations either.

The government has promised to start consultations on the horse racing industry --- something they should have done when they put thousands of jobs at stake --- but they’ve yet to provide a firm date. People in the horse-racing industry have only heard words like 'in due course.' That’s simply not good enough.

When exactly will the Minister of Agriculture give these hard-working, dedicated business owners a date for consultations so they can make the business decisions they need to make?

Refusing to provide a firm answer on the topic, Duncan resorted to a couple of his vague responses, which are becoming resounding themes. "We have undertaken transition funding," Duncan retorted. "The Minister of Agriculture and I will have more to say about that in the very near future."

June 7, 2012 - 1:18 amAbout time for some more

Karen Duck SAID...

About time for some more Rallies across the Province???

June 6, 2012 - 10:43 pmI would like to hear from

I would like to hear from somebody from OHRIA comment on whether there have in fact been ongoing conversations going on with Ted McMeeken and the OLG the past few weeks in regards to transitional funding being implemented.

June 6, 2012 - 10:36 pmPerhaps we should hold a

Cecil Cook SAID...

Perhaps we should hold a raffle with proceeds going to our own transition fund. The winning ticket would designate the winner as the official horseman friend of Dwight Duncan. That would give Mr Duncan a horseman to talk to, and give us a warm and fuzzy feeling that we were making some progress in setting up negotiations with our own government.

June 6, 2012 - 7:31 pmAnyone want to bet that 'our'

Anyone want to bet that 'our' transitional funding will not even be close to the 'golden handshakes' that they would give to any of 'their' departing members?

June 6, 2012 - 5:41 pmTransitional funding, is for

Transitional funding, is for those members of the horse industry who want to leave and take up a new vocation! I dont believe (at this point) it has anything to do with purses or racetracks etc. It is simply a fund that people from horse racing will b eligible to apply for to get education or whatever, for another line of work...thx again govt of Ontario should b a great help!!!!

June 6, 2012 - 5:38 pmLooks like the Liberals are

Looks like the Liberals are looking for more than the 75% of the net profit they already receive from the SAR program. Has anyone heard how the canvass is going for new gaming facilities? Strangely quiet out there.

June 6, 2012 - 4:55 pmI feel it is a fact that the

I feel it is a fact that the Liberals did not have a plan when they announced the end of the SAR programme. Again I feel due to their lack of planning and the huge deficit and everything else that is on their plate that if an election were held today not one Liberal would be elected. The people of Ontario are thoroughly fed up with this bunch. Still we wait for answers as Ontario horse people tend to be really optimistic. We will see what happens.

June 6, 2012 - 4:17 pmTransitional funding means

Transitional funding means "bribe" in my books and when that happens then it is
"subsidy" so then they really justify using those terms which up until now
were quoted incorrectly

June 6, 2012 - 3:21 pmMcMeekin also noted that he

Norm Brunet SAID...

McMeekin also noted that he expects an announcement from the provincial government regarding the scope of the transitional fund in "the next few weeks," and that he remains "committed to working with the industry in a constructive way."
May 16th, 2012.

Still waiting.....

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