Parties Respond To OHHA Survey

Published: September 30, 2011 04:46 pm EDT

The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) has canvassed candidates across Ontario during this Provincial election cycle in an effort to gauge their understanding of the harness racing industry and their commitment

to our future. Since distributing the survey, OHHA has received an e-mail from Liberal party leader and Premier, Dalton McGuinty, a letter from Progressive Conservative (PC) leader, Tim Hudak, and a completed survey from the New Democratic Party (NDP) campaign headquarters.

In Mr. McGuinty’s e-mail he writes: “Ontario Liberals have great respect and admiration for the racing community, and for OHHA. We value the positive impact that the horse racing industry has on the agricultural sector in this province, and we believe in working closely with the industry to ensure that it remains strong and prosperous in the future. There are many important issues that your Association has raised in terms of matters on which we can work together.

We are currently aware that many of the original siteholder agreements are coming to completion. As you may know, we are awaiting the results of our Land Based Review. This review will help to guide and inform our work together in the areas OHHA has raised, such as slot revenue and gaming expansion.”

PC leader, Tim Hudak, wrote: “As I noted when I was given the opportunity to speak to your organization in April, it was an Ontario PC government that took action to reduce taxes on your industry. We also introduced the Slots at Racetracks program that led to more revenue for your businesses, and we made sure that those revenues helped rural economies and horse people.

And as Minister of Consumer Services, I worked with you to ensure a portion of the thoroughbred and standardbred horse people’s share of slots revenue would be dedicated to the Horse Improvement Program. The Ontario PC Party has historically worked alongside your industry to help support the communities and families you serve. Any government I lead will continue that tradition.”

In a survey response from New Democratic Party Central Campaign the NDP have indicated support for another 15-year renewal of the siteholder agreements, with 10% allocated to purses, as well as their opposition to any further gaming expansion in Ontario. The survey also indicates that the NDP would support a review of the Racing Commission Act 2000 and the roles and responsibilities of the Ontario Racing Commission under the Act.

The complete responses can be found on the OHHA website under vote 2011.

(With files from OHHA; Photo credit: Reuters)

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