Wynne Sends Letter To Panel

Published: September 11, 2013 08:00 am EDT

On September 10, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture and Food -- as well as the province's Premier -- Kathleen Wynne issued a letter to the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel asking for a five-year-plan for Ontario's horse racing industry.

The letter from Wynne appears below.

Sept. 10, 2013

Mr. John Snobelen
Mr. John Wilkinson
Mr. Elmer Buchanan
Horse Racing Transition Panel
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4Y2

Dear John, Elmer & John:

Thank you for briefing me on the feedback you have received from horse racing and wagering stakeholders on your Draft Plan "Toward a Sustainable Future" released in June 2013. In anticipation of your pending Final Report, I want to ask you to please provide me with a comprehensive Five Year Plan, to be effective April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019.

Specifically, the Five Year Plan is to incorporate the principles you have previously laid out. I would ask that you present your most comprehensive advice regarding the distribution of the proposed minimum of 800 race days for each of the three breeds by category of racing (i.e. premier, signature, grassroots), including identifying at which tracks these races should be run, their recommended competitive purse levels, and the stable support required for the breeding sector to maximize the economic benefit to Ontario.

I also ask that you recommend a revised governance structure to accomplish the Five Year Plan, including the role of the Ontario Racing Commission and industry associations.

Finally, I require that you establish the specific amount of recommended government investment required during the Five Year Plan to achieve a vibrant, sustainable horse racing industry that is accountable, transparent, customer-focused and of net benefit to the taxpayers of Ontario. This amount should include any necessary re-profiling of the existing Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction revenues flowing to the racing industry.

I want to reiterate that I require specific recommendations on how to best achieve the integration of gaming and horse racing in Ontario.

I appreciate your collective efforts in the preparation of your reports to date, and your commitment to helping the industry move forward to a sustainable future. We are now in the home stretch. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line.


Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Agriculture and Food




Is a sudden election call imminent?
Toronto sun Christina Blizzard says signs pointing to call soon....confused Tories ripe to keep spinning wheels..suggestion thanksgiving election is possible

Sending out notes to industry like this one from wynne keeps feigned racing liberal interest out there, at least until her election night win....

But does industry really have choice now except to play ball with them


Do we know exactly when the final report is slated for release? Dumb question, I know, but many of us are all wondering.

In reply to by Chris Puigmarti

Here in BC our panel were to have their report out Sept. 2012, then November 2012, then January 2013 and then we waited until April 2013, the day before Hastings started.

I do hope they do better then here. Releasing a plan 7 months later than expected does not instill confidence.

I thank the Premier for at least not forgetting about us, however; when using the words transparent, accountable, it raises some questions I have and would like to get answers to. What is the approximate cost of the Transitional Panel? How was the SARP not benificial to Ontario? Why was the ORC shuffled to another Ministry? Why was Godfrey fired? Does the Panel think the ORC has not done a good job of overseeing the Horse Racing Industry for many years? Was the plan for Casinos discussed prior to 2010 and by whom? Would you agree that when SARP agreement began and over time was benificial to all? These are a few questions I have. Thank you.

The advisory committee and ohria spent hours coming out with this very plan that ms wynne is asking for. We sent copies of it to the panel and to ms wynne. The industry was expecting an answer by oct 1. It sounds like the panel and ms wynne are fiddling while Rome is burning. We need to get to the finish line quickly so I hope the stretch is short.

The Premiers second last paragraph would seem to be a key statement in the release: "I want to reiterate that I require specific recommendations on how to best achieve the integration of gaming and horse racing in Ontario".

Unless the Premier (hopefully through the recommendations of the OMAFRA panel) takes immediate steps to re-integrate racing with the OLG, and thereby provide a stable funding source, the industry will continue to wither away.

Seems somewhat ironic that while the Premier is advocating the re-integration of gaming and horse racing, OLG chair Rod Phillips is promoting a new casino in Vaughn -- 15 minutes from Woodbine. WEG officials have gone on record as saying a Vaughn casino would put WEG and racing out of business.

Wonder is someone could take a few minutes to explain the Premiers vision to Phillips. Someone should also remind Phillips and the OMAFRA panel of Paul Godfrey's fate when he similarly ignored her suggestions.

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