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Ontario Liberals Announce $50 Million Transitional Fund For Horse Racing; OHRIA Responds

Published: June 7, 2012 11:51 am ET

Last Comment: June 11, 2012 3:43 pm ET | 57 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

A release from the Liberal government on Thursday officially announced the transitional fund established to "help the horse racing industry transition from the Slots at Racetracks program to a more sustainable, self-sufficient model."

Consultations will be led by a panel of three former cabinet ministers -- Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson. The panel will:

  • Work with the industry to help develop a vision for the future.
  • Provide recommendations to the government on how to allocate transition funding.
  • Advise on the modernization of other industry revenue sources to assist the industry in becoming more self-sufficient.
  • A final report from the panel is expected in late summer 2012.

"Our government understands that ending the Slots at Racetracks program and responding to market demands poses a challenge for everyone involved in the horse racing industry. That's why we are committed to helping the industry move toward greater self-sufficiency without government support," offered Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance.

According to the release Ontario will provide up to $50 million over three years in transition support to the industry, and Employment Ontario will help displaced workers in the industry find jobs and training.

Consultations on Transition of Ontario Horse Racing Industry

The government has committed to working collaboratively with the horse racing industry as it transitions to a self-sustained business model and creates a vision for its future. To assist with this transition, the government has asked an expert panel of three former Ontario Cabinet Ministers, Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson, to consult with the industry to determine how the government can support the transition of the sector, including the allocation of up to $50 million in program funding.

The panel issued the following group statement:

We are happy to have the opportunity to work alongside the industry and provide them with our support as they develop a vision for their future. We recognize that the horse racing industry is at a crossroad and has challenging decisions to make as it considers its future opportunities. We look forward to hearing from stakeholders on their needs and priorities, so that decisions can be made on how to best assist the industry during this time of transition toward self-sustainability. To help inform our recommendations, we invite stakeholders to submit comments. We are particularly interested on the following identified areas of concern:

  • Specific challenges businesses in the industry are facing during this time of transition
  • Specific issues facing displaced workers and their training needs
  • Specific suggestions on the delivery and allocation of transition funding
  • Specific suggestions or considerations regarding equine welfare

Individuals and groups are encouraged to channel thoughts and ideas through your industry associations during the consultation period.

Following the consultation period, the Panel expects to provide recommendations in a final report to government by late Summer.

Please submit comments below, email [email protected], use the Panel feedback form or mail to:
Horse Racing Industry Transition
c/o Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West
2nd Floor
Guelph, Ontario

The consultations will be led by a panel of three former cabinet ministers -- Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson.

Elmer Buchanan served as Ontario Minister of Agriculture from 1990 to 1995 and represented the riding of Hastings -- Peterborough as a Member of Provincial Parliament. Mr. Buchanan currently sits on the board of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission and raises alpacas and angora goats on his Havelock, Ontario family farm.

John Snobelen is an internationally renowned horseman and was inducted into the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame in 1994. He served as Minister of Education and Minister of Natural Resources and represented the riding of Mississauga North and Mississauga West as a Member of Provincial Parliament from 1995 to 2003. Mr. Snobelen is president of Beyond Consensus Inc., a firm specializing in conflict resolution.

John Wilkinson was first elected in 2003 as Member of Provincial Parliament for Perth-Middlesex. In 2007, he was re-elected as MPP for Perth-Wellington. The first Certified Financial Planner to sit in the Ontario Legislature, he was named to the provincial cabinet in 2007. He served as Minister of Research and Innovation, then as Minster of Revenue and subsequently as Minister of the Environment. During his tenure he implemented Ontario's Innovation Agenda, was responsible for the largest tax reform package in four decades and was responsible for the passage of the Ontario Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act. Currently, Mr. Wilkinson is the President & CEO of Wilkinson Insight Incorporated of Stratford.


OHRIA welcomes the formal announcement that OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) has established a panel to work with the industry to move forward with a plan that will insure the long-term viability of a successful horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario.

The creation of the panel is the result of weeks of effort by OHRIA to identify the appropriate point person or persons in government with whom it can engage in these much-needed discussions.

“We are encouraged that the government has put OMAFRA on point to hold these discussions that are long overdue,” says Sue Leslie, president of OHRIA. “We take this as an indication that the government is recognizing the value that our industry brings to Ontario’s agricultural economy and to the public in general. However, it is not transitional funding that is needed but a long-term funding plan that will insure a vibrant industry in the future. This is a long awaited step but there are many more steps ahead.”

OHRIA recently announced the creation of a Task Force for this purpose and that it has retained Stanley Sadinsky to assist it in developing a proposal on behalf of the industry that will lead to a sustainable industry. The Task Force will report to the Board of OHRIA by the end of June for consideration and ultimate approval of its plan.

“Time is of the essence in developing a picture of what industry revenues and plans will look like for 2013 and beyond,” says Leslie. “The breeding sector, in particular, is feeling the immediate impact of the uncertainties regarding industry programs that are designed to promote the breeding and sale of Ontario racehorses. Buyer confidence is now at an all time low and it is essential to provide clarity before the September sales, clarity that will encourage buyers to continue to invest in Ontario bred horses.”

Sue Leslie
OHRIA President and Chair

June 11, 2012 - 3:43 pmIsn't it ironic that the

Isn't it ironic that the Liberal government expects 60,000 people in the horse racing industry to transition with a mere $50 million,over three years!!! and Charlie Juravinski donated $53 million to Health Care.( Up to 50 million I might add.) That offer is a drop in the bucket that will not resolve the present faltering status of this industry and the people that invest their hard earned money into it. What happens to all of the spin off business from racing? Where does there help come in to play? I also agree with Graham in that a large coalition to educate and fight this catastrophic desision made by the liberals must be formed. It is time to break down the barriers between all horse diciplines and contact representatives from every association there is in Ontario. be it ohria, Ohha, Oef, the jockey club, Quarter horse racing and all of the pleasure horse quarterhorse associations , Socta, and the list goes on and on. You must remember that alot of the pleasure horse people live in the GTA and other urban cities but board, show, train etc. in the rural communities that thrive and rely on horse racing. We need to find every avenue to spread the word to the urban population of Ontario. So far there has been very little media coverage and if we don't have the funds it is time to work together to find a way to educate the masses at each and every horse race, each and every horse show etc.

June 11, 2012 - 12:44 amTo say that something is

Paul Miller SAID...

To say that something is better than nothing, in this case, really is an overstatement. What I, and I think a large portion of the industry, really want to know is how can we now compete with he budgets of the Casinos for advertising and exposure- ability to get people to the (betting) booth. This is not just a livelyhood but for many very excellent entretainment. We need to broaden our rbase and expand for those dollars - not contract. Evenings out and business meetings and receptions and stategic partnerships should all be taking place with the backdrop of an exiting race and stellar finish.. how do we secure our future.
McGuinty has made a fool of a decision, but, we can't change that and where do we go from here?
This needs to be the focus.

Just a thought.

June 10, 2012 - 2:58 pmI agree wholeheartedly with

Karry Howard SAID...

I agree wholeheartedly with Chuck Ibey's post of June 7. It appears the NDP will either support or abstain from voting on the budget and it's time to help fund the Conservatives next election campaign. This starts with the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election. The Liberals simply CANNOT be allowed a majority. The website will direct you as to what you can do to help see that this never happens. We don't have to live there but if 60,000 of us support the PCs, we can take this riding.

June 10, 2012 - 11:17 amGavin with all due respect

Joe Riga SAID...

Gavin with all due respect you obvioulsy mssed my point. If a convenience store sells a $40 million dollar lottery ticket it can still call itself a convenience store because it's core business is to sell a bunch of different products be they chips and candy, cigarettes,milk and pop etc. The racing industry's core business (and someone please correct me if I am wrong) is RACING and all things associated with it. I have worked for a large investment firm downtown for 30 years. When we started out we were a privately owned company. Then in 2004 we went public and listed on the TSX. Approx 7 years ago we became a REIT and investors who purchased our company shares were rewarded with great returns. Then as you all know the federal government in one fell swoop pulled the rug out from under our feet by announcing the end of REITS. We had a choice to make. Do we close shop or do we reinvent ourselves. We decided wo reinvent oursleves and continue to sell investment products and do financings because that is our core business. We did not like what the goverment did to us with very little warning or consultation. But we realized this happens a lot. Governments change, policies change, contracts get cancelled etc. As I have stated many times I think what the goverment did to racing and the horse industry is harsh and badly thought out. However having said that the industry shouldve realized that governments and their policies can change on a whim and they shouldve been prepared for thi s day which in my view was inevitable. It has long been happening in the States. Therefore if the racing industry wants to remain a racing industry then it needs to find a way to rpovide their CORE product in a self sustaining way.
If Loblaws relied on selling lottery tickets in order to survive then it wouldnt be a grocery store would it. I have no issues with Loblaws raking in cash from lottery tickets don't get me wrong. I am simply saying at that point it would't really be mostly a grocery store.

June 10, 2012 - 9:10 amGord, I thought the exact

Gord, I thought the exact same thing. The employees that work for the OLG Slots will be out of jobs as well.....Why aren't they saying anything? Surly they fear for their future just like we do. Well they do, believe me. I asked someone I know who works there. They were made to sign a contract that they will not talk to any media about the situation. They are not allowed to talk about it. They are under a gag order. If they do it will result in immediate termination. If they say anything after they are let go they will have to pay back any buy-out or bonus they received while working for OLG. I was told this in confidence but believe me they think the cancellation of SAR is senseless and shortsighted just like we do.

June 9, 2012 - 8:32 pmTim Hudak is quoted In the

Tim Hudak is quoted In the Peterborough Examiner Saturday June 9th, as saying Friday June 8th; he supports the current arrangement that shares slot-machine gambling revenue with the horseracing industry. If the horse racing industry can get him to say he will reinstate such when he gets in power that will be a very strong and supportive position. What company is going to invest millions of dollars in a Casino, under this threat? Hudak forming the next government is a very real prospect. These investor realize it could even happen sooner with the current government needing support to stay in power. The Liberal plan would then be at a standstill.

It is obvious that you need to get yourselves organized. The various groups need to pull together as one. There are a great many of good ideas coming from the horsepersons with no apparent leader of all groups in place. A divided group is easier to defeat than a cohesive well organized group.

Graham McMillen
Retired Horseman

June 8, 2012 - 9:57 pmSo Joe, the next Mac's

So Joe, the next Mac's Convenience store that sells a 40 million dollar winning OLG ticket can no longer call themselves a "convenience store" because a disproportionate amount of their income came from a non-convenience store item.
Glen's analogy is quite fitting as well.

June 8, 2012 - 5:33 pmIt very well may not be 50

It very well may not be 50 million......its states " up to 50 million" so if this government continues with their attack on horse racing I am sure it wont be the 50 million. Even if it does amount to 50 million it might as well be 50 dollars...They continue to kill the industry and this is another joke .. Nothing less than sustainability funding should be given by the government.. When are we going to demonstrate against this dictatorship with all our passion, with our industry on the brink of extinction WE NEED TO PUSH BACK, NOW
Stu Cochrane

June 8, 2012 - 5:27 pmActually Ted it is obvious

Actually Ted it is obvious that presently there would be maybe 2 tracks that would survive without other sources of revenues other than paramutuel wagering on live and simulcast wagering. It could be argued that only Woodbine would be able to provide live racing under this model depending how you split up simulcast territories across the province. My point is that if the government of Ontario outlawed all games of chance except roulette the casinos in Niagara and Casino Rama would be not self sustaining using your definitions. How about the Liberals outlaw alcohol sales in Italian restaurants and East Side Marios becomes East Side Joses serving tacos. This industry is self sustaining in Sweden using a lottery format and not slots but any attempt to try this in Ontario has been thwarted by the OLG. The government decides how much we charge (takeout) what type of products we can sell, and who our competitors are(casinos). Let me ask you some self sustaining questions 1. How many gas stations would be self sustaining if the government took away lottery and cigarette sales. 2. How many variety stores in Florida would be self sustaining if the government disallowed beer sales in vareity stores. 3 How many bars would be self sustaining if the Liberals imposed a 9 pm curfew in the province. My point is that at no time when you read these analogies did you blame the variety store gas station owners or their employees for not being self sustaining due to their lack of effort or willingess to promote their businesses. I hope that the government will allow this industry to find more sources of funding because I think the biggest travesty will be when there are 2 race tracks racing and 10 casinos without racing and some old guy sitting on a bench at Georgian Casino says to his buddy Do you remember how this casino began and the buddy says no How? These guys were given a casino in exchange for promoting racing and all of the agricultural and employment benefits it would bring to the area and with one swoop the government tossed the horsemen out on the street and let the other guys keep the casino but I think they deserved it because they werent self sustaining.

June 8, 2012 - 5:23 pmWe need OHHA to contact

Carolyn Rae SAID...

We need OHHA to contact Cavalluzzo Hayes McIntrye in Toronto
very prominent and successful Labour lawyers in Toronto, on our behalf. I have been assured that if they do not feel they are the correct ones to represent us, they will surely know who is!

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to W5, along with this story.

No wonder we are so far in debt in this province. Not only doesn't our Finance Minister listen, he is without a doubt unable to comprehend the true meaning of a subsidy.

He defiantly continues to call our share of a "Revenue Sharing Agreement" a SUBSIDY.

I would like the Finance Minister to explain where the money he refers to as a SUBSIDY comes from!

He continues to lie to the people of Ontario to create a smoke screen over the Slots-at-Racetracks Revenue Sharing Agreement, which is very plainly spelled out in writing that the money that goes to Horse Racing comes from OUR SLOTS-AT-RACETRACKS Program, and not one damn cent comes from the Government. In fact the truth is that the Horse Racing Industry "subsidizes" this FIBERAL GOVERNMENT to the tune of 1.1 billion dollars annually!

If Mr. McGuinty or Mr. Duncan could be truthful for a change, the people of Ontario would know the truth, which is The Slots-At-Racetracks contributes 1.1 billion dollars annually to the bottom line of this Government; money which goes towards Health and Education. Duncan and McGuinty want to end that program, in their words, so that the 345 Million Subsidy to Horse Racing can be better spent on Health and Education.

Where in Hell did Duncan get his education? You put an end to a multi billion dollar guaranteed income from a very successful partnership, in order to steal the 345 million share from the Horse Racing Industry, (which by the way doesn’t exist either when they end the Slots-at-Racetracks Program) and that is what they call good Business Sense.

Hang on to your Hats everyone, because with these guys doing the math, this province is going south in a hurry, with absolutely no hope for the future, till we get these idiots out of Queen's Park! If Andrea Horwath doesn't wake up and learn to do the Math also, then with certainty, an Andrea Horwath led NDP Government is a fate worth than death to this Industry also!

June 8, 2012 - 3:20 pmTYPICAL GOVERNMENT BRAIN

Joe Kelly SAID...

TYPICAL GOVERNMENT BRAIN FART,,,,,,Tell me who gets the tax from the cell phones, computers and the hydro the racetracks use on a day to day basis as well as race night/day? Who gets the tax from the gas used to get horses, drivers, spectators, etc. back and forth from the track? How many people are employed at restaurants and fast food places that serve the food bought to and from the race tracks. Do you really know how much tax you collect from this racing industry? Its not just about the horses and how much they eat. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.........MY THOUGHTS ARE THAT Mr. Drummond/McGinty, you're at the wrong end of the horse and don't know it. Another point of interest, is that in order to haul these horses around we require special inspections and licensing to haul the loads, I guess you don't know anything about that one either eh!

June 8, 2012 - 2:27 pmWill SOMEONE in the industrie

Will SOMEONE in the industrie please get hold of the HEAD HONCHO WITH THE TEAMSTER UNION AND BY BECOMING MEMBERS, 60,000 strong, maybe we can get something done like picketting every gambling facility in ontario.NO more 1.1 BILLION IN REVENUE FOR THE THEIVES. Have a good day (This could get their attention)

June 8, 2012 - 1:08 pm1 Have a dark day for racing

gord young SAID...

1 Have a dark day for racing . .both gaits . . race the next available day .

2. 2000 trucks/trailers @ Que border, 2000 of the same leave windsor . .

3 Shut the 401 down for 24 hours on a Mon or fri ..

4 On the way home 300 trucks trailers go to your local track that has slots . .shut them down . . .

5 . .this is a >?< / /The slots are shutting down March 30 . . how come no one from that section of the industry in saying a word .

6 ..Where are the farmers that sell the hay straw shavings feed >?>

June 8, 2012 - 11:43 amPoliticians are bottom

Bob Boyd SAID...

Politicians are bottom feeders.
If anyone thinks the NDP will jump in and save the day they're delusional.

June 8, 2012 - 10:47 amCan anyone tell me if casinos

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Can anyone tell me if casinos or bingo halls are taxed on the money they take in? If not this is a place to start with the government. Remove the unfair Federal and Provincial tax that the industry pays. I'm sure the Provincial Gov't doesnt pay Federal tax on all their lottery sales. I think everyone can get my drift here.

Chucck Ibey

June 8, 2012 - 10:21 amThank you Mr. Bechtel. Your

James Feeley SAID...

Thank you Mr. Bechtel. Your explanation of the reality of the economics of the racing industry is the basis of our argument and one that if simply put forward by those would lobby for our industry, I believe, the average citizen would understand and , if not rabidly support; would not oppose. In New York, the powers that be, in the racing industry used the umbrella of the number one economic engine in New York State, which is agriculture...not finance as the general public in NY might expect. When the racing industry partnered more fully with agriculture, we finally got the slots...after so many years of waiting.

We have had one foot in Ontario and one in New York for so many years that I feel compelled to post these comments. We were one of five shareholders ,with Armstrong Bros, that had faith in San Pellegrino(the world's most underated stallion...sorry still pees me off). What in the name of all that is holy is going on with the agriculture sector here?I am not that familiar with how things go up there politically, but what is up with your Agriculture minister? Begin at the beginning...farms generate jobs, open lands convenient to urban centers. Our farms generate a product , race horses, that serve as the basis of a centuries old thriving industry. And although we should be responsible for continuing this REAL industry that has way more influence than even the hard numbers suggest. We are , for instance, a small operation which rarely pays for itself by any accounting method. Our lifelong livelihoods from other carrers have supported our farm for years. This scenario is played out in many places that I know. Money that goes through this farm is spread out to many, many local it is in so many other farming instances.

One last unsolisited piece of advice: don't question the financial feasibilty of social programs in Ontario; that is a losing propostion. For instance: if you question the need for all day kindergarten vis a vis money swiped from the coffers of the racing industry get used to losing. We have a wonderful product that works very well with not only the slots but sports betting. In short pick your fights wisely. Start with the agriculture guy. I hope this is not taken the wrong way; we have , for us, a lot in the pipeline in Ontario. Your fight is our fight. Good luck. Jim

June 8, 2012 - 9:26 amMr Bechtel You state that

Ted Decker SAID...

Mr Bechtel

You state that racing is self sustaining when using all the revenues available to the industry which include slot monies. I would agree that the racing industry is sustainable when slot money is available. Fact of the matter is the slot money will not be available after 2013.Do you stand behind your sustainable statement when all slots money is no longer available? If so then why all the concern since the government announced the end of the slot program? In the late 90's there were going to be many track closures in Ontario because they could not self sustain and the slots saved them.There now are going to be many that close again because the industry is simply not self sustainable and Fort Erie is a prime example.In case you haven't heard it is closing permanently at the end of the year. I'm sure you are confident though that the new team assembled will bring self sustainability back to racing in Ontario. Not sure tracks like Windsor,Sarnia,Sudbury and others share that belief.

June 8, 2012 - 9:26 amI hope all the comments here

I hope all the comments here are passed on to where they count - mpps and ohria. There are some good things here but horsepeople already know all this it's the others that need to hear what a ridiculous "transition" this is. I feel the same as Carolyn Rae - it's the kind of action I was thinking of also.

June 8, 2012 - 8:55 amIt seems to me that Mr

Joe Riga SAID...

It seems to me that Mr Curtain is taking a lot of heat for comments which at the very least are partially true.

Like most people on this site I have been around racing a very long time. And I love the game and want to see it not only stay and thrive. Bust as others have said and I endorese for far too long the racing industry has for the longest time buried their heads in the sand and done NOTHING to make the game more fair, honest, profitable, fun and therefore appealing to fans old and possible new. No industry would survivie if it did not plan ahead for it's growth and development and sadly that appears the case when it comes to racing. Mr Curtain claims that racing needs to be self sustaining, a view which I have believed in and shared for a long time. Now I hear the argument about having the ability to sell "other gambling products" which to me simply does not make sense. If you are a "RACING INDUSTRY then you need to focus on selling RACING. If you are more concerned about having slots and making money from slots then I am sorry you are not a racing or horse industry so please do not call yourself one. Call yourself a gaming industry because at that point that is what you truly are. I do not like nor do I support the manner in which the government has walked away from the agreement they had with the racetracks. I believe it to be impulsive,destructive, and will prove to be a bad decision economically as well. Having said that as I have said before agreements begin and end. Parties often walk away from agreements and if there are legal implications then the racetracks should certainly explore those. However if the racing industry's only response is going to be they took away our slots so now we are done then they are not truly self sustaining. Other gambling products have been sold for a long time alongside racing. Lottery tickets, underground bookies and betting parlours have long existed. Now I will admit they did not pull away as many people as a casino will do. Having said that the RACING industry should have long ago realized this day was coming. I have been sounding the warning bell for years and saying that racing needed to reinvent itself to be relevant.If it's not going to do that and rather insist on getting slots then just change the name from Woodbine Racetrack to Woodnine Casino. That would be a truer name.

June 8, 2012 - 7:12 amWilkinson was the former

Wilkinson was the former LIBERAL up here in Perth-Wellington MP Randy Pettapiece
beat him out in Perth-Wellington so we should realize from the beginning that
Wilkinson will do and say and propose ideas that are only suitable for Liberals.
Snobelen might be a "horseman" but certainly not a horseman that makes a living from racing. His specialty is Reining Horse, not race horses

June 8, 2012 - 12:55 amPremier Dad throwing the

Premier Dad throwing the horse racing community a bone!! What a sad attempt at appeasing an industry that they have set out intentionly to destroy.
OHRIA has already commented on this new panel of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs but where does OHHA stand???

June 8, 2012 - 12:27 amLet's be honest. Only way to

Let's be honest. Only way to fight a lawyer (McGuinty) is with a lawyer. I'll consult mine. I suggest those who can, consult their lawyer. We need some leadership......I haven't seen it. I hope everyone understands that if you bought a horse worth $20,000, after McGuinty it will be worth $5,000. One idea is to have the racetracks close slots at racetracks March 31st 2013 if the government abandon's their partnership and only propose to pay a nominal rent. That might hurt the government a little....but the racetracks could offer a transition fund back to the governement to ease the pain?

June 7, 2012 - 11:58 pmI'm not sure how to take the

Dean Nixon SAID...

I'm not sure how to take the stance of OHRIA on this one. Currently the budget has not passed. Clearly the liberals are in damage control mode hoping to limp through to the by-election at the end of the summer. Wake up people. We have had $350 MILLION STOLEN FROM US!!! If you caught someone stealing your car stereo I think there would be a stronger reaction. I agree with Runciman. Our response thus far is a joke. The leaders of the various organizations are all playing the role of diplomats. The corruption of the entire OLG position fills the air and the longer our representatives, both it he harness racing world and in public office tow the ine, the more I wonder how long this plan has been in place and just how deep the corruption runs. Anyone want to take a guess on where the "Super Hospital" Dwight Duncan announced for the Windsor area will win up.

66,000 jobs, $350 MILLION at stake. This is the type of power trip that wad to the formation of unions. This is the type of decision that erodes democracy. How is it a MINORITY government can continue to ignore the people? How long can we sit back and watch the "opposition" play politics? It's time for the people to take control and have their voices heard.erhaps it's time to call on all industry participants to join forces and make ourselves heard? I'm not talking about silly Facebook petitions or speaches at Queens park that don't even make cable news. I,mtalking about action.

Imagine if 66,000 people wanted their voices heard? What could 66,000 people do? How about cars and trucks parked on every major artery in the city of Toronto from 2:00pm til 8:00pm on a Friday afternoon? Do you think shutting down the 401, 404, 407, 410, 400, QEW etc would get someone's attention? I guess the questions that come to mind are, what price would you pay to see democracy maintained?(ask our war vets) and what price are you willing to pay to protect your families from this dictatorship? Seems like a parking ticket isn't that big of a deal.

June 7, 2012 - 10:21 pmHorvath was on CP24 tonight

Tim Bates SAID...

Horvath was on CP24 tonight boasting about how she made the minority work, I guess I know how she will be voting on the budget!

June 7, 2012 - 10:01 pmDave's quote says it all!!!

Dave's quote says it all!!! $50,000,000 divide by 3 years divide by 60,000 affected people is $278 each- great deal !!!!!!!!!!!

Dalton really has to go!!!!!!!

June 7, 2012 - 8:32 pmDear Peter I am sorry to get

Dear Peter I am sorry to get on the beat up Peter train but I think it is time to attack one of the stupid fallacies Peter brings up that I have heard from the uninformed. The horse industry is not self sustaining.... Let me explain why this is flat wrong. The racing industry is fully self sustaining using all of the funding models of paramutuel wagering slots revenues plus many more forms of revenues. The major problem with the racing industry is the fact that gambling products and revenues are government regulated and the government has the ability to change the rules whenever they feel the urge. Peter if you owned a restaraunt and were a roaring success generating millions of dollars in sales every year and the government decided that they would take your liqour license away because they thought the guy next door would sell more booze than you and thus besides the guy next door is related to the lcbo inspector I would think you would be mad to hear someone say your restaraunt was not self sustaining. I would be evened more infuriated when the fool tells me to learn to sell more steaks and you wouldnt need to sell beer. No one would describe the money that vareity stores and gas stations get paid to sell lottery tickets as a subsidy so dont fall for the stupid argument that the commission that the racing industry receives for selling olg gambling products is charity.

June 7, 2012 - 8:25 pmCan anyone give us an

Greg Perry SAID...

Can anyone give us an accounting of where the Government has spent the 1.1 Billion dollars/ year it has received from this program. The public might be interested in seeing that the revenues that they will take from horse racing will be squandered as well. We are going to need everybody's support from within and outside our industry. Lets put them on the defensive with reguards to the way they spend our money and who benefits from this spending. So far all I've heard are vague ramblings about health care and education. We need to see exact figures past,present & future projections.

June 7, 2012 - 7:58 pmThis is in response to Peter

This is in response to Peter Curtain's response.

I, too, am an avid fan -- I got hooked on harness racing approx. 8 yrs ago then you would understand the need for all the harness race tracks in Ontario.
Each track is a training ground for the world class drivers and horse athletes that you watch daily. Everyone needs to start at the somewhere and work their way up to the top.
Where do you think Admirals Express or Somebeachsomewhere got their starts? it wasn't at Woodbine or Mohawk -- it was a little tracks 1 in Truro, NS and 1 in New Jersey.
so although you think the province could do without Sudbury Downs or Hiawatha or Windsor or Fort Erie -- think again - each and every track is special, unique & a part of my Ontario Racing!!!!

June 7, 2012 - 7:47 pmMr. Curtain, Those little B

Mr. Curtain, Those little B tracks have an important place in the entire structure of horse racing, not to mention the employment oppurtunites and economic boosts they provide for smaller communities. To say Ontario could "do without" them is a pretty narrow view...

June 7, 2012 - 6:29 pmI can't believe that my

John Carter SAID...

I can't believe that my comment was not posted because i held back and took it easy, glossed over my comments but still made my points, but posts that point out that the race game has failed at all levels and they own a large part of the responsibility for where they are today are not allowed or welcomed. I would ask anyone involved with the industry, how has burying your head in the sand and hiding from your share of responsibility worked out. This industry will never accept responsibility for anything and you would be hard pressed to find a successful industry that is unwilling to learn from there mistakes.

June 7, 2012 - 5:43 pmFrom Francois Leomte,

From Francois Leomte, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec in response to Peter Curtain comments...Mr. Curtain…you must be quite young, quite blind behind your “curtain” or without education to write a comment like this. Let me explain you our story in Quebec, a story I know pretty good. In Quebec we lost our industry because the government was too hungry and it’s exactly what you are facing now in Ontario. In Quebec, In the 70’s standardbred racing was very healthy, was sending a lot of dividend to the Quebec Gov. and Loto Quebec (our OLG in Quebec) had a total business of 3 million a year. In the 80’s standarbred racing was still healthy and Loto Quebec had a total business of 30 million a year. In the 90’s standardbred racing started to have problem and Loto Quebec had a total business of 300 million a year. Since 2000 Loto Quebec is making in sales more than 3000 million a year and because the Gov. did not want to share its profits with us we disappeared before 2010. You see Peter , today your Gov has become like mine, the new Mafia. Your taxes are badly spend and because of that your Gov is getting hungrier every year. More than that, your Gov. is lying to its population since they are not saying the complete true. The complete true is that your Gov. is stealing your racing industry to get richer and it is why it was fair to receive 20% from the OLG as a compensation and has an economic booster. More than that,your Gov. do not even want to say to its taxpayer that the money they give (we should say “EXCHANGE” instead of “GIVE”) to the industry is mainly all coming back directly or indirectly . Peter, honestly, if I stole you more than $1000, would you accept from me $1 as a compensation…be serious when you write something and probably you will not be censure anymore. Finally I reaffirm that the industry should invest in a SUPER CAMPAIGN to educate the Ontario population because there is too many Peter Curtain.

June 7, 2012 - 5:33 pmNo Thanks Mr. Liberal Party.

No Thanks Mr. Liberal Party. Whenever the next election occurs, lets all work very diligently to kick these guys out of office. These guys are devestating the province of Ontario. Unemployment is going to sky rocket. Mr. Flaherty must be spinning in Ottawa. sincerely Bruce T. Winning

June 7, 2012 - 5:29 pmThere is a post at 2:04pm

Georg Leber SAID...

There is a post at 2:04pm from a Mr. Peter Curtain. I want everyone to read that post and come to terms that Peter represents the general public. Actually he mentions he is a racing fan. I am not going to berate Mr. Curtain but thank him for his comments.

It shows us what we have accomplished in getting our message out there. Nobody but us is going to suffer directly from the Liberal actions and everyone has their own problems.

Of course with all the unemployment and bankruptcies along with the social problems for years to come, I disagree with Mr. Curtain but his comments cannot be dismissed.

Mr. Curtain sees it as we are turning down 50 million when in fact we are getting fleeced for what was ours in the first place. Better that the horsemen, tracks and municipalities get the money instead of a big US Casino that takes more than the 25% that we are getting. I like the analogy of Bell Canada in another post.

Actually this is exactly what happened with Charity casinos back in the early 90's. The government took licenses away from these entities and said "We changed our minds and we are now in the casino business now that you showed it to be profitable"

I say the time for relying on any of the 3 political parties is over. They are not negotiating in good faith and we have nothing to lose. 50 Million is a slap in the face.

Does anyone remember how Sunday shopping came into effect? Very simply a guy that sold furs wanted to be open on Sunday. He disobeyed the law and paid fines until he got his own way. We have to fight the government tooth and nail, not by posting a billboard and crying. Where do we start?

If horse racing is unsustainable, so are pension funds for Politicians. Horse racing is a drop in the bucket compared to that and we get virtually nothing in return.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

June 7, 2012 - 5:23 pmI agree 100% with Caroyln

I agree 100% with Caroyln Rae. I have said this from the beginning, saying and doing are two different things. We need need someone to start the trucks and trailers rolling, get a leader, get a plan and start showing up at all tracks at the same time lets roll. I elect Carolyn Rae to get us organized ,if you want help call me. We cannot afford to talk about it any longer we have to take action NOW!!!!!

June 7, 2012 - 3:37 pmHere is an analogy of what

Joe Shea SAID...

Here is an analogy of what the government has done......for those who are not actively involved in the horseracing industry and don't understand what is at issue here.....

Using the telecommunications industry as a hypothetical, the government has taken over (not PURCHASED) every single telecommunications company in Canada, except for the largest and oldest company, Bell Canada. They have then told Bell that the government, now sole owner of everything but Bell, will be supplying every telecommunication device known to mankind....home phone, cell phone, internet, data, satellite tv, cable, etc. Bell is allowed to sell and provide service for rotary dial phones. That's all. Effective immediately. Oh, and by the way....we would also like 75% of your profit. And GREAT news!! We will be creating 2300 jobs! employ 60,000 people who will effectively be out of work soon? No you don't. Well, here's $278 for each of them. Thanks for creating a great industry for us and laying all the groundwork over the past 100 years or so, but we'll take it from here.

June 7, 2012 - 3:16 pmYes I did stop asking after I

Yes I did stop asking after I got married to someone who didnt ignore me. Actually I dont think going away is the solution I actually think eventually we will have to get in their face and force them to listen to us but being part of this discussion when the only real discussion that will ever matter is when the Liberals decide to have a discussion on the funding model going forward.

June 7, 2012 - 2:54 pmThe government currently

Joe Shea SAID...

The government currently receives approximately $260 million from betting on horseracing each year. If we go completely under they get list of recommendations includes us keeping that 260 million....they won't get it regardless, so....and I will only charge a fraction of that 50 million in consulting fees....

June 7, 2012 - 2:47 pmAndrea Horwath, and her NDP

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Andrea Horwath, and her NDP MPP's need to be told point blank, that if she ABSTAINS again this time, and sells us down the river at the end of this month when the vote on the budget comes, she can kiss the NDP support from the Horse Industry in Ontario GOODBYE.

We need to demand that the NDP VOTE this time, instead of sitting on the fence, and each NDP MPP that votes against this budget, WILL RETAIN (and in some cases gain) votes and the support of the Ontario voters, but for every NDP MPP that supports this budget, or ABSTAINS from voting to protect their own job security, will be kicked to the curb, just as they have done to us!

WE NEED TO REMIND THEM OF THE "GOLDEN RULE"!! Remember it and live by it!

We need to organize and start rotating strikes, obstructing traffic getting into the slots. No-one seems to have a handle on what is going to happen to the horseman's share of the slots money purse account March 31, 2013, so now is the time to give this government a taste of their own medicine.

If the people going into the slots, are inconvenienced a little, by being held up at the entrances, as well as handed simple flyer information about the impending doom of the slots at the end of March 2013, it will serve two purposes.
One, it will guarantee that the people who visit the Slots at Racetracks are made aware of what this Government is planning on doing, and
Two, it will undoubtedly cut down the attendance at the Slots, since most people who come to the Slots at Racetracks do so because it is easy to get to, and hassle free. We can cause enough of a hassle that some will just stop coming, and that will cut into this Government's share immediately, thus showing just a small sample of what they will be loosing themselves, and increasing the deficit of this Government now instead of waiting til next year. After all, why would be want to house a tenant like this, allowing them to prosper for the next 9 months, knowing what our fate will be.


June 7, 2012 - 2:42 pmOh, I think they hear

Bill Stanton SAID...

Oh, I think they hear perfectly well what we have to say, they just don't care! It is up to the voters the next chance they get to oust this dictatorship along with their friends the NDP and hope that not all aspects of our gov't have the same set of values!!

June 7, 2012 - 2:41 pmDon't forget, that $50

Dave Briggs SAID...

Don't forget, that $50 million will be split at least two ways with the thoroughbreds and, likely, three ways counting the quarter horse industry.

So, split evenly between the three breeds, that amounts to a little over $5.5 million a year to the entire standardbred industry each year for the next three years for a grand total of just over $16 million.

Our share amounts to 0.005% of what the government makes in a single year from the slots-at-racetracks program ($1.1 billion).

June 7, 2012 - 2:40 pmAnybody getting a little more

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Anybody getting a little more eager to work in that next by-election. Like I stated before it's time to start to help fund the Conservatives next election campaign.Its time for everyone to take out a membership in the Conservative and or NDP if they will support horse racing. When you make your donation be sure to tell them why they got it.
Quite frankly they can shove their pittance where the sun doesnt shine. Now may be the time to shut down the slots in a fashion that gets the publics' demonstrating. They start losing all that revenue right now that way. If this was 60,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector it wouldnt be tolerated. Where the hell are the opposition and any Liberal with a conscience now?

June 7, 2012 - 2:34 pmI see nothing "welcoming" in

chris bush SAID...

I see nothing "welcoming" in this announcement. Unless there is some secret negotiating going on, our industrty and the governments' vision is a million miles apart. While sounding cozy, with all the unemployment in Ontario, which jobs exactly are any of us going to be retrained for? Gotta go, my ulcer's acting up again.

June 7, 2012 - 2:22 pmGlenn - did you give up

Glenn - did you give up asking girls out? :-) I understand what you are saying, but at the same time they are counting on ignoring us and hoping we go away. I will not go away, and have written many, many letters and emails and will continue to do so. Come next March I will not say "I wish I had done more".

June 7, 2012 - 2:17 pmDave if you read the release

Ron Waples SAID...

Dave if you read the release from OHRIA they state that "it is not transitional funding that is needed but a long-term funding plan that will insure a vibrant industry in the future."

June 7, 2012 - 2:11 pmWHAT A JOKE. They must think

They must think we are completely ignorant. What a bunch of no GOOD LYING S___ O_ B_____,Hypocrites to think the horse peoples are going to lay back and take it easy on what they offer.Let's take there salary away and give them the same deal and see what they have to say about that. THEY CANNOT FIND JOBS FOR THE THOUSANDS OUT OF WORK NOW IN ONTARIO. What's the joke ???????The whole bunch of them need to be cleaned out. FIRED NO COMPENSATION ECT.When you have a VIRUS in a program, you DELETE IT> Have a good day.

June 7, 2012 - 2:04 pmI have never seen an industry

I have never seen an industry actually complain so much for being offered 50 million over 3 years. If someone is offering you money, you take it.
I believe the 50 million is over 3 years so that it cushions the blow. People will not be out of work immediately but rather have 3 years to find new jobs. An industry that is not self sustaining is not an industry most people in Ontario are willing to support. Those in the horse racing industry need to be more realistic. Having said that, I hope this post is not censored like my previous attempts. I say all this as an avid horse racing fan. I love watching Woodbine and a few other tracks but I believe Ontario could do without the Hiawatha's, Sudbury Downs type of tracks.

June 7, 2012 - 1:46 pmIf OHRIA thinks 50 million

david gibson SAID...

If OHRIA thinks 50 million over three years,spead out between three breeds and seventeen racetracks is a good thing,that the Liberals are recognizing the value of our industry then God help us!!!

June 7, 2012 - 1:44 pmThat works out to 2% of what

gord dougan SAID...

That works out to 2% of what the Province agreed to under the Slots at Racetrack Program. Shouldnt be a problem operating an industry with 60,000 people, and 10,000 horses on 2% of our operating costs. WHAT A JOKE.

June 7, 2012 - 1:27 pmKathy I have asked enough

Kathy I have asked enough girls out on dates and know what its like to be ignored and trust me the liberals are ignoring us. They believe the employment numbers are wrong, they believe that slot money is a subsidy, they believe that the racing industry is not an important industry in Ontario. The industry has no problem convincing each other and we seem to even be able to convince the pressthe facts about our industry but unfortunately we cant convince either the Liberals or the majority of the public enough to make a difference. So telling the Liberals about how bad they are or submitting a suggestion to this kangaroo court is legitimising all of the other falsehoods they have proclaimed. I once told a person who offered me an insulting offer for my horse two words that are similar to NO THANKS and even thou I didnt sell my horse I felt a whole lot better. SO NO THANKS Mr. Duncan I know you are not listening.

June 7, 2012 - 1:06 pmThey offer this one time

They offer this one time deal...and they will issue a T4 slip for tax purposes
we are shafted again !!!! Wellington got rid of Wilkinson and here he comes again,
to mess with us up here..

June 7, 2012 - 12:56 pmGlen, It's obvious the

Glen, It's obvious the Liberals are not hearing what we have to say - it must be made loud and clear. $1,428.57 per participant is a joke and an insult. We've been quiet long enough! They are asking for our input - let's give it! They claim they want consultation - let's give it! Print out anything you send to them via email or their input form and ensure it gets into the hands of a PC or NDP MPP as well. They cannot ignore the voices of tens of thousands of people who are employed in this industry forever!

June 7, 2012 - 12:41 pmI have been fighting this

I have been fighting this government from the start on this decision at the same time trying to do what our associations ask of us and work along with the government.I concluded a while ago and this announcement just confirms it this government never had any intention of helping us and our families and really doesn't care whether we lose our homes and livlihoods.I have found so much corruption going on with this Liberal government that its like watching an episode of the twilight zone. I say to all horsepeople with or without
association support we as a group need to rise up against this move. The time for passiveness and pleading is over it is falling on deaf ears and full pockets. Its now or never people!!!

June 7, 2012 - 12:28 pm$50,000,000 divided by 35,000

Terry Lantz SAID...

$50,000,000 divided by 35,000 direct horse racing employee's = $1.428.57. Wow, thanks Dalton and Dwight, that's 1 mortgage payment for a lifetime of work in the standardbred industry. Thank-you so much.

June 7, 2012 - 12:17 pmThis is like asking for

This is like asking for suggestions on the dining room menu on the Titanic. Anyone who sends a suggestion to this moronic attempt to look like they care will legitimize this stupidity. I would like one person in the Liberal party to announce once and for all that horse racing will be funded 100 percent by paramutuel wagering on racing and every racetrack can then add up the total revenue they would generate for purse accounts and then one by one racetracks can announce that they would not race because of the lack of revenue for the purse account. New Jersey is attempting to fund their industry through wagering on horse racing and they fund one 80 day meet at the Meadowlands and the same for less money at Freehold. The saddest part of this charade is that I believe that the Liberals are so far away from being knowledgeable about funding models that they dont even know they are lying when they keep mentioning 6 to 7 racetracks. I believe that every person in this induistry should email to the above transitional fund email address the following two words NO THANKS.

June 7, 2012 - 12:14 pm$50,000,000 divide by 3 years

Dave Snowden SAID...

$50,000,000 divide by 3 years divide by 60,000 affected people is $278 each- great deal !!!!!!!!!!!

June 7, 2012 - 12:14 pmAs expected, an insult to the

As expected, an insult to the racing industry. Just another example of the Liberal's complete lack of understanding or knowledge of the industry. I suggest everyone send in their suggestions and requests for "transitional funding". Everything from retraining to keeping a roof over our head and putting meals on the table. Let's not forget the "transitional funding" our equine friends will require. They too will require retraining and care - make it clear that slaughter is not an option. How far will $50 million over three years go? I'm sure the breeding industry in Ontario has lost more than that already! Even our finance minister sould be able to add up the numbers and realize that supporting the current SAR program is far more beneficial to the economy.

June 7, 2012 - 12:12 pmHow generous of the Liberals.

How generous of the Liberals. From 325 Million to 50 Million (over three years). These clowns have got to go and soon!!

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