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MPP Gives Liberals A History Lesson

Published: August 24, 2012 9:10 am ET

Last Comment: October 8, 2012 11:28 am ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"The program was created back during my time as a cabinet minister. It started because we needed venues to host the government's slot machines, and since racetracks already had gaming at their facilities, it was a perfect fit. As the host of the government's slot machines, racetracks received 20 percent of the profits for two reasons; we were renting their facilities and we had to compensate them for the losses they would incur from their own gaming enterprises."

In a release issued on Thursday, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson gives Ontario a history lesson as to how the province came to have expanded gaming at racetracks - a fact that the Liberal government glosses over when discussing the numbers. Since they haven't been able to do that properly (as pointed out by Trot Editor Darryl Kaplan's well-documented number of racetracks), it's no surprise that the evolution of expanded gaming at Ontario's racetracks and its benefits have not been popular topicswithin the robotic replies offered to the media by McGuinty's government.

"According to the Liberals own 2011 Budget, slot machines at racetracks were responsible, in part, for $1.5-billion of hospital operating expenses, $120-million for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, $41-million for problem gambling and related programs, $10-million for amateur sports, and $69-million for general government priorities," noted Wilson.

The full media release is posted below.


60,000 jobs at risk with end of Slots at Racetracks Partnership

(Queen's Park Report - August 23, 2012) While retrieving my voicemail one day last February I heard the familiar voice of Fred Brayford on the tape asking me to return his call. Apart from being a highly regarded Allistonian, Fred is known for his love of horses.

I returned his call right away, and within a few moments of catching up with this long-time horse owner, I was reminded by Fred of just how devastating Dalton McGuinty's decision to end the Slots at Racetracks partnership was going to be on our communities, and rural Ontario as a whole.

The program was created back during my time as a cabinet minister. It started because we needed venues to host the government's slot machines, and since racetracks already had gaming at their facilities, it was a perfect fit.

As the host of the government's slot machines, racetracks received 20 percent of the profits for two reasons; we were renting their facilities and we had to compensate them for the losses they would incur from their own gaming enterprises.

It's a common practice. You don't go to a government office to buy a lottery ticket; you go to a convenience store that has partnered with the government to sell the tickets on their behalf.

This particular partnership saved the government a bundle because we didn't have to build our own standalone facilities and it meant that our communities wouldn't be littered with slot machines - gaming would stay in pre-approved areas.

The spinoffs from the partnership are huge for the agricultural industry and the province. Just ask Marv Chantler of Loretto who is one of the many people in our riding with a sign on his lawn warning people of the 60,000 jobs that could be lost with the end of the partnership.

Those jobs account for over $1.5 billion in wages, with $47,145 being the average for racetrack operations employees, and $55,035 for those working backstretches and farms that are found all over our area. Those are good salaries that pump needed funds into our local economies.

The amount that the industry spends as a whole is pegged at $2 billion per year with 80 percent of it being spent in rural, agricultural communities like ours.

The Liberals will tell you that this is simply a "secret subsidy for a few, very wealthy racetrack owners," but that line doesn't pass the smell test.

According to the Liberals own 2011 Budget, slot machines at racetracks were responsible, in part, for $1.5-billion of hospital operating expenses, $120-million for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, $41-million for problem gambling and related programs, $10-million for amateur sports, and $69-million for general government priorities.

One thing is for sure, the Liberals have obviously not met those who will be most affected, people like Jeff MacLaren, a jockey from Tottenham, whom I met earlier this year along with his young family at Queen's Park.

Jeff is the farthest thing from that image of Cyril Sneer, the ruthless aardvark who acts as a greedy businessman in that old cartoon The Raccoon's. That's Dalton McGuinty's vision of horse people, but it's not the reality.

Like so many in his sector, Jeff is a guy who loves his job and works very hard through very long and difficult days in a very reputable and important industry.

Make no mistake about it this is a blow to rural Ontario.

It's tragic that so many honest and hardworking people - who can be found in every corner of our riding - are being thrown out of the industry, especially at a time when we've already got 600,000 people in Ontario out of work.

I support horse racing in Ontario and my Party has done so for a very long time. I urge constituents to keep up the fight, keep writing to Dalton McGuinty and signing petitions as I will too.

October 8, 2012 - 11:28 amwell that's big money. thanks

well that's big money.
thanks for keeping us informed, i liked your site,
i just wish i came across it earlier. bookmarking it now

October 1, 2012 - 7:11 amThanks so much, Mr. Wilson

Rosario Chen SAID...

Thanks so much, Mr. Wilson for this great entry, very well written post that contains a lot of educational information. Your words should be heard!
I hope you will manage to deliver a speech in front of people who are able to change the situation for the better soon.

Best regards, Chris

September 26, 2012 - 4:29 amI agree with Bruce, the only

I agree with Bruce, the only way to bring reality to this problem is to vote McGinty and all of the Liberals out of office. Hopefully, it will be possible soon

Jackie

August 30, 2012 - 5:46 pmHorseman need a history

Will Yamakva SAID...

Horseman need a history lesson too.

Remember when the track used to have fans and people would love to go do the track? Why dont people go anymore, and what have you done to lure them back?

Wait... the answer is... nothing. There is always 5-10 times the amount of people playing the slots, than watching the races... but horseman see nothing wrong with that.

Get your act together horseman.... I WANT MY RACING TO SURVIVE, but your plan of attack is all wrong.

August 29, 2012 - 12:08 amThank you Jim, please stay

Karen Duck SAID...

Thank you Jim, please stay fighting with us.

August 24, 2012 - 6:37 pmThank you Mr. Wilson. Both a

Lynne Magee SAID...

Thank you Mr. Wilson. Both a brain and a heart speaking at the same time. If the Dalton and his knuckleheads had either one working, we could at least meet them on the same page.

August 24, 2012 - 4:57 pmThank you Jerry for your

Karen Breen SAID...

Thank you Jerry for your comments. Also, there has been nobody more passionate to save harness racing than Christine Arlidge. I applaud you both!

August 24, 2012 - 2:46 pmYou've hit the nail on the

Alison Read SAID...

You've hit the nail on the head! You've got the issues exactly right! Thank you!

August 24, 2012 - 12:51 pmAccording to a report in the

jim rigg SAID...

According to a report in the Sun the " Big Shot" from Las Vegas Sands met Mayor Ford and registered as a lobbyist also 5 of his buddies from the Sands are registered as lobbyists. I cannot believe that despite the very professional submissions by Sue Leslie and Anna Meyers the Opposition Parties are still sitting on the fence. This outfit the Sands is under investigation by the Nevada Gaming Commission for bribery and yet they welcome them as lobbyists! Rediculous! I thank Mr. Wilson for his support and have sent messages to Tracey Weiler and Lisa MacLeod in the hopes that she adds this to her motion calling for the resignation of Duncan and Godfrey for Conflict of Interest.

August 24, 2012 - 10:47 amWay to go Jim. You are one of

Paul Gangle SAID...

Way to go Jim. You are one of the very few politicians that "tell it like it is". Thank you for your support.

August 24, 2012 - 9:39 amThank you for your support, I

Bobbi Morley SAID...

Thank you for your support, I only wish you had stood up and said the same thing way back when you first had the conversation with Mr. Brayford. You have made comments in the house, but this needed to be out there sooner!

August 24, 2012 - 9:39 amI am one of those so called

I am one of those so called wealthy horse people. Yeah right. Not really. My trainer/driver who is just 21 years old is heading east later this year to hone his trade in the big time. We will have 2 horses there. His goal is to be a successful horseman and it is there, that this will either come to fruition or not. With all the Liberal actions though, it makes you wonder what the future there really is. My young guy, and I am sure, many across Canada, look up to Ontario as one of the places to be in North America when it comes to harness racing. He will spend money into that economy as will I and my wife when we head east to watch somes races. These are dollars that will not be spent down the road if there is a demise of the horse race industry in Ontario. All I can say to the Liberals-you are truly idiots if you follow through with your plans.

August 24, 2012 - 9:26 amDistribution Blitz - Calling

Distribution Blitz - Calling ALL Horsemen!

With the by-elections for K/W and Vaughan in the looms, the Metro Pace and horse sales coming up we need to act now!

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 or at [email protected]

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!

Thank you,
Christine Arlidge

August 24, 2012 - 9:23 amThe only way to bring reality

The only way to bring reality to this problem is to vote McGinty and all of the Liberals out of office. This guy is in bed with the casino barrons south of the border. Sun media reported that they are in the process, three of them, in Toronto this week negotiating the set up for the casinos. This is why these two bi elections are so important. The Liberals cannot win either of these seats. The NDP have to start coming to work at Queen's Park and performing the job to which they are elected. Andrea Horwath and the party are not looking very good in the polls. The only way she is going to stay in the job is to take side with the Liberals. This will be her political folly. The end of her career. Bruce T. Winning


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