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MacLeod To Take Slots At Racetracks Case To Auditor General

Published: August 20, 2012 9:36 am ET

Last Comment: August 24, 2012 12:32 pm ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"I think this could be a whitewash, that's why I'm calling in the Auditor General through a private member's motion this September to come in, look at the numbers look at the impact on the horse racing industry and see do Ontarians really want casinos at their downtown locations."

Referencing the recent Abacus Poll and last week's announcement that the Liberals received the economic impact analysis two days after the March announcement ending the slots-at-racetracks program, Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod plans to take horse racing's case to the province's Auditor General. The Office of the Auditor General is an independent office of the Legislative Assembly that conducts value-for-money and financial audits of the provincial government, its ministries and agencies (emphasis added).

For months, Ontario's horse racing industry has provided solid evidence that it provides value for money for the government and the province. It was Don Drummond who initially recommended that the province examine the program earlier this year. Questions pertaining to why the partnership was ended after pumping billions of dollars into provincial coffers were left unanswered to the satisfaction of the industry.

On Tuesday, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece and Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott accused the McGuinty Government of making up their minds to 'kill' the horse-racing industry when it was revealed that government received an economic analysis impact assessment two days after the OLG modernization announcement that stated the slots-at-racetracks program would end in March 2013.

On Thursday, a poll conducted by Abacus Data for Racing Future found that most Ontarians think the provincial government should rethink its decision to shut down the Slots at Racetracks program at Ontario's racetracks with 76 per cent of Ontarians in favour of reviewing the decision.

"The issue is not whether we bring an end to a subsidy for horse racing in Ontario, it's what's the best way to do that," Premier Dalton McGuinty told reporters in Ottawa on Friday. "My choice is to put any available money into schools."

According to the Abacus Poll, McGuinty's choice of semantic snowballing isn't working. Just 25% of survey respondents in the Abacus poll believe the slots-at-racetracks program is a subsidy while 40% would correctly call it a partnership.

"The Liberals would like to try and tell you it's a subsidy but it's not," said MacLeod. "It's a revenue-sharing agreement."

One Liberal is breaking ranks and actually agreeing with his Conservative counterpart instead of his party leader. Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal submitted a proposal last week to the OMAFRA panel that would keep a modified slots-at-racetracks program in place.

“All these dollars stay locally and it creates jobs for people,” Leal was quoted as saying in the report. “It’s not a subsidy, but it’s an investment.”

August 24, 2012 - 12:32 pmThank you, Ms. MacLeod, for

Adam Mauntah SAID...

Thank you, Ms. MacLeod, for your efforts, and for showing leadership that we have yet to see from any of the people who actually hold the title of party "leaders". It is encouraging to see MPPs of all stripes speaking out for racing. The best way to get public support for racing is to ensure that the message gets out in public settings on a regular basis, and few places are more public than the Legislature.

August 24, 2012 - 6:50 amI personally think we have

I personally think we have been gaining a bit of ground in the past few weeks. Thank you for standing up for us Lisa!

I am organizing a distribution group for this Wednesday, August 29 in Kitchener-Waterloo to hand out some flyers. Please feel free to print some off and join us. http://bit.ly/Nb298X If you'd like to take part, contact me via Facebook.

If you live in or around the Vaughan area or any area for that matter, we need your help as well. Print some off, take a few friends and spread the word!

Also, the PC party is looking for volunteers to canvass in K/W. Contact Brian Tropea or the PC campaign office for more info.

Christine Arlidge

August 21, 2012 - 12:25 amLisa is another breath of

Lisa is another breath of fresh air. I can't see why Preemie DAD still won't listen to the public. He doesn't need the Horsemen chasing him; he will have to answer to the ORANGE fiasco, ehealth and the dismantling of the large building in west Toronto.

I can't understand it--he is going down for the count as the public is very much aware of the missing money in his government programs.

I just looked at my watch, and it says 12:25 AM. Do you suppose that the OPP will be doing something at this hour re their investigation of ORANGE, and ehealth??

August 20, 2012 - 2:44 pmFrom my previous comments

Dave Nicol SAID...

From my previous comments about politicians you all know I*m not a big fan of any politician however there are exceptions and I believe Lisa is one of them! If you have not listened to her in the legislature you should. I place her in a select group of politicians I trust. Listen carefully to her words as they are the truth as she sees it and not a bunch of bafflegab like too many others! Compare her comments to those of the agriculture minister who spouted a bunch of bafflegab and knew he was trying to hide a bunch of outright lies by his superiors to keep his job! No wonder he came across as a buffoon as it appears he was very uncomfortable about lying to his constituents. Like others I did send money to the PC party to fight the upcoming by elections! This is the first time in my life I donated money to a political party and hopefully the last! If Lisa needed funding for the next election I may make an exception! Go get them Lisa, there*s a lot of people counting on politicians like you to do the right thing!

August 20, 2012 - 2:13 pmWHY IS EVERYONE COMING OUT OF

alan guthrie SAID...

WHY IS EVERYONE COMING OUT OF THE WOODWORK now all of a sudden? Are we maybe looking for votes/ What a joke these politicians are.

August 20, 2012 - 12:55 pmShe may support the industry

Bill Stanton SAID...

She may support the industry but has been mighty quiet about it up until now!! Let's hope she means what she says!

I have to wonder who will be benefiting from all these casinos moving into the cities. Perhaps the ones who support so wholeheartedly getting rid of the slots at racetracks??

August 20, 2012 - 12:06 pmI have noticed some stir in

Chuck Ibey SAID...

I have noticed some stir in the Liberals, but let's not get too excited. Mr Leal from Peterborough in an article in the Peterborough Examiner starting to take credit for "creating the 3 member panel".
The article by The Peterborough Examiner explains that under Leal's proposal that he subitted to the panel, "if racetrack slots are ultimately relocated, raceways would still be allowed to retain some of the revenue from the machines as a way of maintaining the horse racing industry." “All these dollars stay locally and it creates jobs for people,” Leal was quoted as saying in the report. “It’s not a subsidy, but it’s an investment.”
Now suddenly it's not a subsidy again although the money for racing will come from slots located elsewhere.
Does anyone other than me not see that as a subsidy?
Mr Leal is smug in this as he knows the slots at Kawartha Downs would be relocated in the form of video gaming at the recently aquired bingo hall in Peterborough. That hall being owned jointly by Boardwalk Gaming(Mr Tanenbaum) and Delta Gaming.
Do these guys not realize that people are not stupid and can see through their Bull.... ? Remember the saying "if it looks like manure, smells like manure, it mostly likely is manure".
Lisa MacLeod is correct in calling in the Auditor General, but while she is at it call in the Ethics Commissioner and start looking at this from the aspect of of corruption.
Keep pounding on these Liberals everyone they are corrupt imo. Remember if you haven't joined the Conservative party at least send a donation and help if you can in the 2 bye elections coming up.
Oh by the way isn't it nice that another U.S. casino operator wanting to come here is in trouble in Nevada over bribery to obtain opportunity to set up shop in China.
Yes, the Liberals don't want to be involved with Canadian owned racetracks and horsemen/women but shady U.S. casinos that will get at least 47% take....same as the bingos...but don't like the partnership with us that splits 75% government, 10% racetracks, 10% racing and 5% local municipality.
Yes Mr McGuinty and Duncan you would rather do business with U.S. casino operators that would see 47% of the money go across the border or with your Liberal friends such as Mr Tanenbaum but begrudge giving 25% take of the SAR to Canadian Horseracing that partnered with you in the beginning to give you a logical and immediately available location for the Slots and the money staying here.
Let's not get hoodwinked everyone, keep pounding on these guys. The best proposal coming forward so far is no doubt that of Mr Burgess......just my opinion. There is room for us to sit with the government and agree to a slightly smaller % of take in the SAR and keep all tracks solvent and our industry thriving. This will help with debt reduction with the caveat that when debt is reduced significantly we revert to the present formula.
By the way I'm sure that all the tracks are capable of becoming full casinos/racinos if given the opportunity and managing them as well. We will then give the goverment their share. The question to beg then is why not give racing the same spits they ae giving the bingo operators (47%), which I am sure will be the same split to Casino operators....well enough of my rant............for now!

August 20, 2012 - 12:04 pmYou're darned right Ms.

Lynne Magee SAID...

You're darned right Ms. MacLeod! Thank you for your support of the Ontario horse racing industry. Now let's get it to the media so that the people (voters and taxpayers) of Ontario get the true picture. It would seem that the facts are starting to filter through to the public but there is still a large number of people that don't know what is going on. How can they when the Liberals have done their best to cover-up and/or distort the facts? They are the masters of "spin".

August 20, 2012 - 12:01 pmIf the Racing Industry can

If the Racing Industry can get the Auditor General to "investigate" the reasons behind the ending of the SARS agreement it could lead to a police investigation and criminal charges. It is the first positive sign for the Industry in Ontario!!

August 20, 2012 - 11:33 amWAY TO LITTLE TOO

Georg Leber SAID...

WAY TO LITTLE TOO LATE

Actually we would have welcomed some action last March when the announcements were made to shut down the SAR program. September is very late. By the time the bill is introduced, debated and put up for a vote, plus a couple of readings and suggested changes etc, it will be December.

If passed it means the Auditor General will start a year long investigation and make recommendations. Does anyone think the Liberals will pay attention to the recommendations? Of course not. The Auditor General's Office is a waste of taxpayers money as they are powerless.

The bill is without teeth. What should happen is a non-confidence motion in September if the Conservatives win both by-elections. If the Liberals win one or both of those seats, it's pretty much over for us.

What we should do is find out who is in the running for these Mega Casinos and as a group go and visit with them. Forget negotiation with the Liberals. Collectively we can tell them that we will oppose them every step of the way. No Casino Group wants to be known as the group that brought down racing in Canada. Our friends south of the border will support us here.

Probably one of the biggest economic sanctions they can face is the threat that everyone involved in horse racing will boycott casinos belonging to the winner, everywhere in North America. As a group we and our customers, friends and families represent a serious demographic of gamblers.

Does anyone know who is the front runner or even in the running. It can't be that secretive since the Liberals already know.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

August 20, 2012 - 11:14 amThanks so much to Lisa

Thanks so much to Lisa McLeod. She has been a strong supporter of SAR and Rideau Carleton. I have met her at Rideau several times and she makes no bones about supporting us in the industry. Very happy to see one politician living up to their promises!!


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