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MP Del Mastro Chastises Wynne's Government Over Kawartha Situation

Published: March 13, 2013 3:36 pm ET

Last Comment: March 14, 2013 1:28 pm ET | 19 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In a release issued Wednesday, March 13, Progressive Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, who is from Peterborough, Ont. and is currently the Parliamentary Secretary to Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has chastised Premier Kathleen Wynne's minority Ontario Government over the way it has allowed the situation at Kawartha Downs to unfold.

Via release, MP Del Mastro has stated, defended and concluded that provincial negotiators must be "emphatic" in terms of how they deal with Ontario raceways and slot operations.

MP Del Mastro was clear in concluding that if Ontario racetracks are not hosting live racing they should not be able to be home to slot machines.

"Provincial negotiators must be emphatic; no racing, no slots," MP Del Mastro concluded. "No slots, no lease rental payments to Kawartha Downs or its ownership.

MP Del Mastro finished his release on the hot-button issue by saying, “We must stand four-square behind our rural Ontario economy.”

The contents of MP Del Mastro's release appear below.

MP Del Mastro Calls On Government Of Ontario To Uphold Obligation Of Racetracks To Maintain Racing As A Condition Of Hosting OLG Slots

The surprising news that Kawartha Downs has rejected an offer from the Government of Ontario that would have maintained the tradition of harness racing in Peterborough demands swift action to preserve rural jobs throughout the region.

The solution to the current problem can be found in the 1998 Agreement between the OLG and facilities like Kawartha Downs which made horse racing a necessary condition of hosting OLG Slots at Ontario racetracks. Any track that refuses to continue to operate horse racing should simply lose its slot machines and other gambling activities as well.

“The partnership agreement forged between the Government of Ontario and the horse racing industry through the Slots at Racetracks Program has provided more than $14 billion to the provincial treasury while the industry has grown to support 60,000 jobs throughout rural Ontario.” stated Dean Del Mastro, Member of Parliament for Peterborough. “The dismantling of this industry will shrink Ontario’s rural economy and harm local farmers and agri-business. The simplest solution is to require the Kawartha Downs ownership to maintain harness racing as a condition of continued OLG tenancy at Kawartha Downs; any incentive agreement to support the Kawartha Downs ownership to continue to host harness racing activities should be in-line with the agreements reached with southwestern Ontario tracks last week.”

In speaking with local farmers and businesses, many have stated to MP Del Mastro that they have been sideswiped by these developments; many of them were hopeful given the many assurances that a solution was being negotiated that would maintain a future for the local industry.

“The Slots at Racetracks Program was a partnership that worked for the Government of Ontario and for rural Ontario. Sadly, the current government has decided to move in a different direction.” stated Del Mastro. “I do not question that our local MPP Jeff Leal wants to see harness racing at Kawartha Downs continue in the future but his government must change the terms of any future OLG lease agreement to insist that harness racing is maintained.”

Del Mastro concludes that provincial negotiators must be emphatic; no racing, no slots. No slots, no lease rental payments to Kawartha Downs or its ownership. “We must stand four-square behind our rural Ontario economy,” stated Del Mastro.

March 14, 2013 - 1:28 pmThe politicians are all talk

Dieter Kraus SAID...

The politicians are all talk and no action. This is an election issue. If the governing Liberals win the next election then the people of Ontario spoke. The power here is the opposition bring DOWN the government on this issue and let the people decide. Should the Liberals regain power then issue should be put to bed. COME ON NDP AND PC MAKE THE GOVERNMENT FALL.

March 14, 2013 - 11:41 amI have forwarded this page to

Carolyn Rae SAID...

I have forwarded this page to the following:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
along with the following comment/letter:

We are running out of time to save the 2nd largest sector of the Agriculture Industry here in Ontario.
When I spoke in great length, to the Ontario Ombudsman last fall, I was told they were on a fact finding mission to determine whether or not they had enough grounds to investigate this situation. It is now 6 months later, and the end to the Slots-at-Racetracks Program is March 31, 2013, as ordered by Dwight Duncan, Dalton McGuinty, and Paul Godfrey, under the pretext of the "Modernization Gaming Plan" for Ontario.
We all know this is BS! This is nothing less than more Corruption on the part of the OLG and The former Minister of Finance. It is BLACK & WHITE, and yet the Ombudsman still does nothing.
Tim Hudak stated in his party's white paper, that we needed to get rid of the OLG, because it is nothing more than a cash grab, and the Government shouldn't be in the Gaming Industry. I am starting to think maybe a second look needs to be done into the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman as well. It seems they are only willing to investigate what this Liberal Government says they can. WAKE UP YOU PEOPLE!!! 60,000+ people in Rural Ontario are about to loose their jobs, livelihoods, farms and stare straight into the face of an empty future here in Ontario for their chilren as well as themselves.
All the deals being made with the select few racetracks are being done in complete secrecy. Are you going to sit by and allow this Government once again to make "closed door" deals? Do the voters of Ontario not have a right to know what is being promised to the "select few" racetracks here in Ontario, and what is not being offered to those who perhaps are not staunch LIBERAL SUPPORTERS???
For God's sake, everyone sat back and watched/allowed the ORNGE and E-Health scandals unfold right under your noses, and now you are allowing this to happen again to Agriculture in Ontario.
I truly believed we lived in a DEMOCRACY, not a DICTATORSHIP, but check out the definition of DICTATORSHIP...under the Thesaurus, you will find several words including "Autocracy - a government in which somebody holds unlimited power; Totalitarianism - relating to or operating a centralized government system in which a single party without opposition rules over political, economic, social, and cultural life; Authoritarianism - belonging to or believing in a political system in which obedience to the ruling person or group is strongly enforced; Tyranny - oppressive government by one or more people who exercise absolute power cruelly and unjustly; and Despotism - cruel and arbitrary use of power"! If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.... IT IS A DUCK!!
What this Liberal Government is doing to Horse Racing here in Ontario while all with the power to stop it, sit idly by and watch the ship sink,is nothing short of despicable!

March 14, 2013 - 10:46 amWe need to come up with a

Carolyn Rae SAID...

We need to come up with a better argument for Federal intervention, other than Unemployment. Unfortunately, I believe if you check into individual situations in this regard, very few in our industry will even qualify for Unemployment. You have to pay into Unemployment in order to receive benefits, and I seriously doubt there are very many in our industry whose employers paid unemployment insurance for them. I may be wrong and I sincerely hope that I am, but don't think so. So that leaves many at the mercy of WELFARE. Now, in the truest sense of the word, this Liberal Government has made our industry dependent on the Government and the tax-payers of Ontario, fulfilling their allegations of the industry receiving a "subsidy" from the tax-payers of Ontario. Truth is though, this dependence was intentionally created by this Liberal Government of Ontario's decimation of a whole industry!

If everything else fails though, I do believe every single person affected by this catastrohpe should show up at every Service Ontario location/kiosk to apply for re-training benefits, and utilize the word SUBSIDY til this Government is sick of hearing it. They want to subsidize our industry..... GOOD .... we can all go back to school at the expense of the Government and for as long as it takes live off their SUBSIDY until steady employment is found.

March 14, 2013 - 8:23 amI tried to talk to Mr.

Kelly Scott SAID...

I tried to talk to Mr. Norlock and I got one of his associates. He said as well this was a provincial issue. I stated true but unemployment benifits is a federal department. I also stated that when you go to a track there are not just Ontarians there. Horsemen come from all over Canada to race in Ontario. So when something effects the whole country then it is a federal issue. I never heard back from them and I have talked to Rob Milligan several times.They do nothing.It is our bed we helped make it so now we have to live with it. Tell me the closing of KD comes as a suprise to anyone. Just do the math and Skip made out like a bandit and the horsemen there did pretty good as well the last 12 years or so. Purses are 75 grand and the bet is 40. Not hard to figure out the strong survive and the weak fall by the wayside. It is too bad but life does go on.

March 13, 2013 - 9:49 pmThe Liberal Government The

The Liberal Government The OLG has destroyed any forward motion that the horsemen have presented to move in any negotiations. Lets be honest if i said to any of you give me 3000 dollars and at the end of the year i will give you 15000 dollars back ..... Wow what a deal. Thats what happed with the Sarp agreement . 3 Million in return 1.5 Billion WOW WHAT A GREAT DEAL . The problem here at Kawartha is simple JEFF LEAL You ask why what company does he work for your right THE LIBERAL PARTY AND IT"S PARTNER OLG . Just look at all the good things they have done... you're right NOT MANY . WHEN A COMPANY MAKES THAT MANY MISTAKES AND ADMITS THAT THEY HAVE WITH THE HORSEMEN BUT ALLOWS IT TO CONTINUE ??? PLEASE PICK THE PROPER CANDIDATE

March 13, 2013 - 9:18 pmI have talked to our MP for

I have talked to our MP for Cobourg Rick Norlock. We talked for about an hour and 1/2. He was adamant back then that this was a Provincial matter. Even though Federal looks after Unemployed. I also talked with Justin Trudeau who also stated it was a provincial matter. I will be getting a new appointment with Rick tomorrow. We all should try out this Federal Avenue. It cannot hurt only help. Ronda Markle

March 13, 2013 - 8:43 pmCome April 1, I hope to see a

Don Patrick SAID...

Come April 1, I hope to see a picket line of horsemen at Kawartha Downs, especially on weekends. Let the Fiberals know that they are paying rent on a facility that will not make money until racing returns.

March 13, 2013 - 8:41 pmI Love This Guy

Dan Davis SAID...

I Love This Guy finally
someone who is talking some sense.
It seems like the owner at KD is not
happy with the similar deal the other
4 tracks got ....because it is not lining
his pockets enough....
Make It Stand

March 13, 2013 - 7:44 pmI seem to remember this

Dave Nicol SAID...

I seem to remember this script being played out before, when the slots at racetracks began. It seems that even the Federal government is finally taking notice of this calamity, yes we do pay Federal taxes as does everyone else remotely involved in AGRICULTURE! My trust in democracy has been seriously tested by the inaction of elected officials in every party and jurisdiction. Allowing unelected bulldozer operators to run roughshod over taxpaying citizens is undemocratic in my opinion! The time has come for all elected officials to speak up and stop this derelection of their duty to those who elected you to work on our behalf! Shall I hold my breath? Hardly!

March 13, 2013 - 7:39 pmLet's get DelMastro's e=mail

Let's get DelMastro's e=mail address and get started writing If he doesn't know KD's history, let's give it to him.

March 13, 2013 - 7:32 pmAmen to that Mr. Del Mastro!

Paul Keith SAID...

Amen to that Mr. Del Mastro! If the provincial Liberals had a clue or sincerely cared about the horse racing industry they would've already implemented sanctions to weed out money hungry track operators who don't care about anything aside from the almighty dollar.

March 13, 2013 - 6:51 pmNO Racing NO Slots, sounds

Karen Duck SAID...

NO Racing NO Slots, sounds fair to a Windsorite

March 13, 2013 - 6:47 pmNot familiar with the history

Randy Young SAID...

Not familiar with the history of KD Track Management ... but Del Mastro is absolutely right ... there's no way that slots should be allowed to operate on ANY tracks property unless Horse Racing is operating as well. All that would accomplish is rewarding Track Managers who were always more interested in the Slots than Horse Racing ... and bailing out the OLG who have nowhere else to put their slots.

Its good to see someone in the Federal Government getting involved ... hopefully we'll see more of it.

March 13, 2013 - 6:11 pmAbsolutely agree. No racing

Georg Leber SAID...

Absolutely agree. No racing no slots. Slots are the carrot. If Skip doesn't want racing then I for one would not force him to accept it but don't give him a bonus for selling us out and making the Liberals look like idiots in the process.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

March 13, 2013 - 6:09 pmThe government is good at

Brett Riley SAID...

The government is good at scraping deals and starting new ones.They should consider a new approach with kawartha downs on behalf of the horseman and related jobs in the community.This is why deals should include horseracing for the economic benefit of rural ontario. Sounds like something we had before but this time police it to make it work.We all agree things have to change,but not wipe it out.

March 13, 2013 - 5:02 pmi think the liberals finally

dave lewis SAID...

i think the liberals finally po-ed the wrong mp[federal]sounds like he wants to put a stop to all this crap.

March 13, 2013 - 4:54 pmwhere has this guy been,i

dave lewis SAID...

where has this guy been,i kinda like this del mastro guy.

March 13, 2013 - 4:38 pmHurrah for Mr. Mastro. I

Peggy Powell SAID...

Hurrah for Mr. Mastro. I realize that some track owners would rather just have the slots but this is no help to the racing community and to the economy
of Rural Ontario. I hope that our Provincial Government will realize this. I have been saying this all along and no one would listen. Maybe now , after hearing a Federal MP say it out loud they may listen.If they want to save this industry this is a must have decision. It was implemented in the original contract and it is important to keep it now. If not, we will probably see Georgian and Flamboro follow the same path as Kawartha Downs.

March 13, 2013 - 4:23 pmThat was the Agreement when

Phil Porter SAID...

That was the Agreement when Slots were introduced at the racetracks.....No Live Racing....No Slots. Unfortunately, this Liberal Government and the OLG seem to have ignored and, in fact, have destroyed the spirit and intent of the SARP Agreement. I guess 14 billion dollars was not enough!!

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