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Liberals Grilled After Fort Erie To Close On Their Watch

Published: June 7, 2012 11:48 am ET

Last Comment: June 8, 2012 8:28 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The news of the announced closure of the 115-year-old Fort Erie Race Track was still reverberating Wednesday, June 6 in the Provincial Legislature when MPP Monte McNaughton took aim at the Ontario Liberals for their brutal handling of the situation. In turn, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan continued to inaccurately and intentionally refer to the slots-at-racetracks program as a subsidy.

The Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium voted on Tuesday, June 5 at its annual general meeting to close the 115-year-old Fort Erie Race Track for good on December 31, 2012.

Purses at the historic border had been bolstered by a cut of revenue from the recently-shuttered slot machine area, which had housed the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.'s gaming terminals. When the OLG announced earlier this year that it was shutting down the machines, the FELRC was forced to address a $6 million shortfall in its $29 million operating budget.

The Fort Erie Race Track, home to the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, is the largest employer that the Town of Fort Erie has, as it employs roughly 2,000 individuals in peak season.

“Last year, horse racing at Fort Erie received $8.6 million from the slots-at-racetracks subsidy,” Duncan was quoted as saying Wednesday in the Legislature, according to a report by Bullet News.

“Since the MPP from Niagara Falls (Kim Craitor) won’t stand up in his place and ask the tough questions on behalf of his constituents, I will,” McNaughton proclaimed.

“The historic Fort Erie Race Track’s first day of operation was Wednesday, June 16, 1897 --- and sadly, the final day of racing will be October 30. This is a racetrack that has survived not only the Great Depression but also two World Wars and other turbulence throughout its long and storied history. Unfortunately the 115-year-old racetrack will be joining the Windsor Raceway in line for mothballing by this minister. What is your plan for the hundreds of men and women in Fort Erie and Windsor who now find themselves out of work as a result of your poor decisions?”

(With files from Bullet News)

June 8, 2012 - 8:28 amThis is exactly what needs to

Dave Otten SAID...

This is exactly what needs to happen. Shut all the slots down now and let the Liberal government of Ontario scramble. Call them on it! What do the horsemen have to lose at this point. It's like the posties going on strike. Come on folks band together on this, something must be done they are running rough shod over you.

June 7, 2012 - 3:25 pmSince Duncan defiantly refers

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Since Duncan defiantly refers to our share of revenue as a "subsidy", Why not call his bluff? Shut down the slots NOW, and let DUNCAN AND THIS LIBERAL GOVERNMENT PAY HORSE-RACING A "345 MILLION DOLLAR SUBSIDY"

Without the money (1.1 billion) from OUR SLOTS-AT-RACETRACKS Program, they really will be forced to Subsidize Horse Racing.

Difference here is the 345 million, won't be coming from the Slots-At-Racetracks revenue sharing agreement, since it will no longer exist. Your dollar figure, your words Mr. Duncan, or are you disputing your own words now!

'FRANKLY, MR. DUNCAN, WE DON'T GIVE A DAMN', Where the 345 MILLION DOLLAR SUBSIDY, (You so DEFIANTLY continue to label OUR SHARE of the REVENUE SHARING AGREEMENT), comes from. You are bound by the revenue sharing agreement to "GIVE 1 YEARS NOTICE IN ORDER TO END THE AGREEMENT) to provide this money to the horse racing industry until the end of March 2013!!!!

So, if you insist on lying to the people of Ontario, stating that your Government is subsidizing Horse Racing, so be it.


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