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Report Presented, Racing Waits

Published: August 21, 2012 9:21 am ET

Last Comment: August 22, 2012 6:23 pm ET | 13 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The horse racing industry is waiting anxiously for the OMAFRA panel report, presented to government on Friday, August 17. People in racing aren't the only ones wondering why the findings have yet to be made public.

"There is growing dissension in the Liberal caucus on [the slots-at-racetracks] issue," said Ontario PC Economic Development and Innovation Critic, Monte McNaughton in a Monday release. "Seven Liberal MPP’s have publically opposed the McGuinty government’s decision to end the Slots at Racetracks program. [Jeff] Leal’s recommendations are a public acknowledgement of how damaging this decision will be to the horseracing industry and Ontario’s economy.

"The transitional panel’s interim report regarding the future of horse racing in Ontario was presented to the Minister of Agriculture last Friday. To date, we have heard nothing about the report or its contents. Thousands of jobs are at risk. The report must be made available to the public immediately,” said McNaughton.

In an interview with the Flamborough Review, OMAFRA panel member John Snobelen gave comments on the report that involved consultation with over 500 industry stakeholders.

“I think there is more work to do," stated Snobelen, who noted three major overriding concerns: the future of racing with the slots-at-racetracks partnership, the livelihood of the participants and the welfare of the horses.

“To the best of our ability, we have reflected some of the things (in our report) that have been told to us,” said Snobelen.

According to Snobelen, the panel will consult future with government.

“Any recommendations that we would have would be recommendations for the minister to direct the panel further,” said Snobelen. “People in the horse racing industry should be proud of the representation of their interest to the panel. These are difficult issues and tough problems, but they’ve been very responsive.”

August 22, 2012 - 6:23 pmInterestingly,a lawyers

Candice Love SAID...

Interestingly,a lawyers tactic is to release information or send a letter that cannot be retorted on a Friday to give the "other" party (the horsemen in this case) a time to reflect. They know this is an issue that will affect many thousands of people,for the Liberals to come out and say they will release this information on Wednesday and then now delay it until Friday is very suspicious in my mind,and more than likely will cause great concern for many.

August 22, 2012 - 10:12 amA very pleasant sounding lady

A very pleasant sounding lady from OMAFRA called back late yesterday afternoon and left me a message. She says the report will be available publicly on Friday and no FOI request will be available. The alarm bells are immediately going off for me. This report has been in the hands of the governmnet since last Friday. Will we get the original recommendations? This government has already proven they will "spin" facts, figures and reports to suit their agenda. I guess we'll know shortly.

August 21, 2012 - 5:14 pmOf particular interest to me

Terry Fried SAID...

Of particular interest to me is Mr. Mcnaughton's statement "Seven Liberal M.P.P's have PUBLICALLY opposed the McGuinty government's decision to end the Slots At Racetracks program."This is news to me. Who are they,what did they say,why haven't we heard about them before?Maybe we can get a few to cross the floor and put one hugh spike in the McGuinty,Duncan,Godfrey coffin.Keep the pressure on folks,we need PC's elected in BOTH bi-elections.

August 21, 2012 - 3:35 pmI called the OMAFRA freedom

I called the OMAFRA freedom of information and privacy coordinator this afternoon. Left a message inquiring if the horse racing transition panel report was available to the public, or if a FOI request would have to be made. Will let you know what they tell me.

August 21, 2012 - 3:33 pmI agree Ray - All of this

I agree Ray - All of this could have been avoided. The Liberals are doing the same thing to the teachers and doctors - we should not feel "picked on". No negotiations whatsoever, stripping years of collective bargaining gains. How come they didnt just come to us and say - "Hey guys (track owners and horsemen) things are real tight right now (aka- we blew a lot of money that wasn't ours), what about 8% and 8% for a couple years until we get out of the hole a little (aka- a "competent gov't" takes over - there's an oxymoron for ya!).

August 21, 2012 - 1:42 pmYou are so right Kathy. I

You are so right Kathy. I can see no good coming of this. They are still dragging their feet (liberals) so we don't have time to really organize. So we had better start pushing right now. I can bet they have seen the report and just put it aside because they don't like it. And Leo is right, should have a huge rally with teachers and health care people on opening day Sept. 10.

August 21, 2012 - 12:36 pmSooner or later sanity will

Norm Brunet SAID...

Sooner or later sanity will have to prevail.

August 21, 2012 - 11:57 amWell folks I can understand

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Well folks I can understand that the Liberals would need some time to look at the report before releasing it. That gives them time to concoct more lies and put their own spin on the report. Isnt that what occurred with the Drummond Report?
Let's face it; with the recent release of an Economic Analysis which was; if we read it filled with "assumed" so often, it was obvious they have no idea of the results of the SAR cancellation and impact on racing. They stated there were only about 5800 jobs in the industry......damn 5800 people have created a big wave.
That being said I am cautiously optomistic of this report....after all seldom are reports found to be negative towards the gov't that requested it, but let's hope these 3 prepared a favorable and honest report for us.
By the way don't be too hard on the Agriculture Minister, he is towing the Duncan line and over his head in this, because of that.
Let's just hope that some more Liberals will let their conscience loose and realize that what they are doing is very wrong and destroying the lives of significantly more people than the mathematicaly challenged Mr Duncan will have people believe.
I have to believe there are a lot more members of all 3 political parties, that will stand up and tell the Legislature that what is occurring is just wrong or we the people have truely lost our voice to government....let's hope that isn't true.

August 21, 2012 - 11:55 amI THINK THERE IS MORE WORK TO

Georg Leber SAID...


That statement implies that they have mad a recommendation to continue paying the panel. That's how political committees, panels and consultants work. They develop a framework so they can make more money and stretch out the assignment another year. Afterall they are making a lot of money. The downside for our industry is that there will be no decisions at this time.

If you think about it, the best spin the Liberals can put on this is that they have commissioned a panel, they have recommednations and they see a need to work with the industry to come up with the best possible solution for all involved.

That way they don't come out and say it doesnt matter what the report says, the SAR program is dead and there is no more money for racing in Ontario. They would never say that before the by-elections.

I hope I am dead wrong here.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

August 21, 2012 - 11:11 amThere would not be work to do

There would not be work to do as Mr. Snobelen indicated if the damn LYING LIBERALS had left things alone in the first place....maybe the work that needs doing is putting someone with a financial background in charge of the OLG & the ministry of finance...neither of which seem to be run very efficiently.

August 21, 2012 - 10:26 amI think we need to rally

I think we need to rally again at Queens Park commences on monday Sept. 10th, Just an idea. but i live near Scugog Township, ( island Port Perry ), they have plans to rebuild. The Great Blue Heron Casino , on native land,, I understand the Chief if Gary Edgar> an idea would be to approach them = Him, to possibly build a track/tracks on their land/lands. The government has not been able to touch their cigarette sales and recently and new gas station that is ten cents cheaper than downtown Port Perry... thanks. Leo Samarillo YO1217

August 21, 2012 - 10:08 amOne would hope for several

murray brown SAID...

One would hope for several things.
(1) That the report is empathetic to the issues facing all facets of horse racing industry.
(2) That if in fact the above occurs that the government accepts the findings of its own chosen panel.
(3) That they act with alacrity considering that there are both Standardbred and Thoroughbred sales scheduled to take place shortly with the livelihood of numerous breeders at risk.

August 21, 2012 - 9:33 amWait a minute! DIdn't Ted

Wait a minute! DIdn't Ted McMeekin state on Sunday that the report would not be released until Wednesday? According to this story, the Liberals had it in their hands on Friday. No wonder McMeekin couldn't look at any of the folks he was talking to!!
I worry what will happen to this report if the Liberals don't like what the panel has to say. Will there be a need to file another request under the freedom of information act to get the truth again?

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