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Clouthier: SAR Issue Could Be By-Election 'Sleeper'

Published: August 21, 2012 4:13 pm ET

Last Comment: August 22, 2012 3:33 pm ET | 15 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

After having announced earlier this month that he would be supporting Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party in the upcoming provincial by-elections, highly respected political veteran Hec Clouthier has told Trot Insider that voters in the Vaughan riding have been 'disgusted' after hearing the specifics of how Dalton McGuinty's Ontario Liberal Government is destroying the highly-successful slots-at-racetracks program.

Clouthier, a life-long harness racing supporter who in the past worked hand-in-hand with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's Federal Liberal Party, announced earlier this month that in response to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's "inexcusable" and "indefensible" treatment of the provincial horse-racing industry he would throw his full support behind Vaughan's PC candidate Tony Genco

"After I brought Tony up to speed vis-à-vis the slots-at-racetracks partnership, he could easily recognize the reason for the anger, animosity and agony within the horse-racing industry regarding the Liberal Government's arbitrary decision to cancel a program that has been extremely successful for all partners," Clouthier explained. "Tony Genco and the Conservative party can do much better than the Liberals on this file."

Clouthier said that it was "clearly evident" as he campaigned door to door that the voters in Vaughan "are not happy with the Liberals, but that in itself does not guarantee victory." He explained that "to win an election, you need to give the voters a sense of purpose, a sense that your party can do better.

"It was interesting to watch the voters' reaction when I explained that the Liberal Government was in the process of cancelling the slots-at-racetracks partnership, which is putting over $1 billion a year into the government treasury, money that is spent on education, health care, infrastructure etc. Most were not aware of the situation, but the more I explained to them about the disastrous, negative impact on the horse-racing industry --- plus the fact that there was no guarantee the billion dollars a year would still be there to fund health care and education --- the more upset they became. They shook their heads in disturbing disgust."

Many have chosen to subscribe to the belief that the importance and magnitude of the Ontario horse-racing industry's SAR crisis is not being acknowledged and felt enough by the mainstream media and urban Ontario. Clouthier believes the issue just could be the straw that breaks the Liberals' figurative back.

"There is no doubt in my mind that, properly managed, the SAR issue could be the 'sleeper' in the by-elections because it has everything: money, government ineptitude and passion all rolled into one. Why would the government scrap a partnership that is making them a billion dollars a year? It is especially egregious considering Dalton McGuinty's statement yesterday at the AMO conference in Ottawa when he said, 'Well, the way I see it, partners don't give up on each other.' Isn't that exactly what the Premier of Ontario is doing to the horse-racing industry? He is giving up! This is more than inept management, this is just plain dumb. Also, generally speaking, people have a passion for horses and respect those who own, care for and work with horses."

Clouthier stressed that the Ontario horse-racing industry must remain vigilant with its fight. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a great story to tell, but we need to keep moving forward with our message," he said, adding that it is his hope that people within the racing industry can find time to volunteer their services in the by-elections.

"Let me be very clear and concise: If the Liberals win both by-elections, they will have a majority government, and that spells trouble with a capital 'T' for our horse-racing industry!"

August 22, 2012 - 3:33 pmGood posting Hector. Keep up

Good posting Hector. Keep up the good work. Count me in if you need help. Marv

August 22, 2012 - 2:56 pmI just finished reading an

I just finished reading an editorial column in the August 22nd London Free Press titled "Ornge you mad enough at Liberals". It is a "refresher on Liberal scandals, mismanagement, hypocrisy, and boondoggles". It then lists 10 reasons not to vote Liberal. You've probably guessed by now, the closing of the Slots at Racetracks program is not mentioned. I talk to people every week that still don't understand what is happening, nor do they care. Until I tell them that money that used to go to Ontario horse racing will now go to a Liberal buddy billionare and American owned Las Vegas casinos. Plus their taxes will increase because the host communities will lose their share of income. Only then do they agree that this is wrong.

August 22, 2012 - 12:07 pmI just contacted Tracey

I just contacted Tracey Weiler's campaign office from the website info given on Greg Kingshott's comments below.Ian Stumpf from her office responded immediately and followed up with an email outlining how and when I could help.He also said they can use all the volunteer help we can give them.Info/training sessions are beginning tonight and up to end of the month so call Ian at 226-377-1338 to get the details.I would encourage anyone living in or near Tony Genco's Vaughan Riding to contact his office.

August 22, 2012 - 10:14 amIt's good to see Hector

Bill Beacham SAID...

It's good to see Hector stepping up and into the fray on this issue. I also have some experience in political campaigns and Hector's advice to get in on the ground war is most pertinent. Every campaign is looking for events/rallys/public demonstrations of support to draw attention to their candidate and their position. If one was to contact the campaign manager and seek out an opportunity to organize or be part of an event - I'm thinking a couple of hundred trucks/trailers/horses forming a parade to a venue such as a local park where there might be an opportunity for someone like Hector or Dennis Mills to address the crowd, followed by the candidate - and bring attention to our issue. That would generate press coverage. What Conservative candidte would not want an event where a Liberal politician is there to speak in favour of their candidate? Yes it will take someone to organize, get flyers printed, call supporters etc - the campaign office may be able to help with that. Don't be intimidated by the individuals in these campaign offices - there are regular folk who mostly just want to be involved in their community.

On Monday morning I heard PC leader Tim Hudak interviewed on CFRA Ottawa 580 where he stated clearly he supports the SAR program. Hector has told us Tony Genco is on board - I've sent a cheque. I have contacted Tracy Weilers campaign office and if she is willing to publicly support her leaders position I'll contribute there as well.

It is critical the liberals not win these by-elections. If they get their majority the lies, deceit and mis-information they have spread about the SAR program will go unchecked.

One more item if I may. You have to love the passion and dedication of our friend Marty Alder however we must refrain from such comments as those attributed to him at the Leamington Fair in June (cat/sandbox). We will loose the public's ear with personal attacks such as that. Deal with the act - not the actor.

August 21, 2012 - 8:45 pmShow up at Queens park Monday

Tom Kelly SAID...

Show up at Queens park Monday ,he will be there to put the screws to the teachers union ...we don't have a union let alone one leader!

August 21, 2012 - 8:26 pmThanks for responding Mr.

Thanks for responding Mr. Clouthier. I understand well that volunteers are what gets the job done. It just seemed to me that there was a disconnect between those that want to help and getting them to help. As such I'll post the contact information here for anyone who might be looking to help.

Tracy Weiler - Kitchener/Waterloo -
Tony Genco - Vaughan -

August 21, 2012 - 8:24 pmThank you Hector Clouthier.

Rick Karper SAID...

Thank you Hector Clouthier. You are a great friend of the harness racing industry. Give em Hec!

August 21, 2012 - 7:46 pmI agree with Greg Kingshott .

Peggy Powell SAID...

I agree with Greg Kingshott . We are all willing to help but we don't know how to go about it. Last week I tried to get some of us out to the BBQ held by Ted McMeekin & that worked out pretty good, not great, but OK. Today my sister & I passed out Pamphlets " Broken Promise" in Waterloo. If it hadn't been for the efforts of ONE member of the Racing Industry (Christine Arlidge ) we would have had nothing suitable to hand out to anyone. Many of us are trying to do what we can. If we had a leader we could be more affective. We are just a few individuals trying to do what we can because we love our horses & our Industry & as desparate as we are we will do almost anything.Emails just aren't cutting it anymore.

August 21, 2012 - 6:32 pmSomeone needs to get a door

Someone needs to get a door to door campaign going. OHRIA is taking a wait and see attitude re their proposal. I'm afraid we can't wait for the Liberals response.

August 21, 2012 - 5:56 pmLove that Mr. Clouthier is

Love that Mr. Clouthier is supporting the Conservatives even though he's a former Liberal. He has always defended agriculture in both Ontario and Quebec and is great to have him defending the SAR.

August 21, 2012 - 5:47 pmBang on Bev Heywood and Mr.

Lynne Magee SAID...

Bang on Bev Heywood and Mr. Clouthier. Informing the public is key to getting rid of this government.

August 21, 2012 - 5:25 pmGreg, The best way to help in


The best way to help in the by elections is to go to the candidates campaign office (the address can be found on line )and ask what you can do to help. In any campaign it is the "ground war" that makes victory possible. You can distribute flyers, put up signs , make phone calls on behalf of the candidate from their headquarters etc. There are lots of jobs that need to be done.I'm sure you will find it interesting.

Volunteers are the life blood of any campaign. Anything you do will be very much appreciated .

Thank you for your interest.



August 21, 2012 - 5:21 pmGreg I have heard 1st hand

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Greg I have heard 1st hand from some elderly people that they have donated $25.00 to the P.C. party because of this issue. So even a small donation from many people adds up. If you go to the Ontario P.C. Party (google it) there should be a contact for the 2 by-elections. It is my understanding they would have you do whatever you are capable and comfortable with. I had the contacts but have deleted them in error. Wouldn't it be nice if all the people in racing affected by this turned out to help in some manner! Money or time or both!

Chuck Ibey

August 21, 2012 - 5:00 pmThank you AGAIN Mr Cloutier

Bev Heywood SAID...

Thank you AGAIN Mr Cloutier !
This is exactly what needs to be done. It is the people outside the industry that has to be made aware of the crisis, the people in the industry know very well what the problems are and get to see and hear what is going on every day.
We need someone with connections to get the word to the VOTER's, where it counts.
The fight needs someone with a Clout(hier) behind it !

" Thank you again Hector Clouthier "

August 21, 2012 - 4:44 pmMy question for Mr. Clouthier

My question for Mr. Clouthier is how are we supposed to volunteer our services? I'm not looking to be walking around by myself like a door to door salesman. Nor am I am able to donate in any significant way from a money standpoint. While I've been in contact with lots of people in regards to the situation to try and help.

What we really need if you want strong support to help win the byelections is to provide the industry with a frame or plan by which we can participate in reaching out to the voters in those ridings. Provide the industry with the framework to help and have it posted in Standardbred Canada or through news casts and newspapers and you will have as much support you need for spreading our message. We have little direction in which to help. Give us some.

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