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Liberals will not commit to protect smaller horse racing tracks

October 18, 2016

(Queen’s Park) – The Liberal government’s so-called “modernization plan” for the OLG is threatening the future of horse racing, says Randy Pettapiece. The Perth-Wellington MPP serves as opposition critic for the horse racing industry.

This morning during question period, Pettapiece called on the Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, to ease the uncertainty over the industry’s future, and commit to keeping all 15 of Ontario’s racetracks open.

“By cancelling the Slots at Racetracks Program, the government left the horse racing industry a shadow of its former self. Racetracks, horsemen and local economies are still struggling,” said Pettapiece. “Instead of apologizing, the government plowed ahead with its misguided ‘modernization [plan].’ It’s going to put even more of the industry out of business.”

Last week, Ontario Racing, the new industry association, released a plan that calls on the government to invest $1.6 billion over 17 years to stabilize the industry.

“We still need to remember – the proposed funding will not come close to the previous revenue sharing agreement,” said Pettapiece. “Uncertainty will persist.”

Pettapiece slammed the government’s plan for its oversight of horse racing. Without a firm commitment to keep casinos at many racetracks, Pettapiece shares industry concerns that smaller tracks are in jeopardy.

“Does the minister believe it’s ‘modern’ to wipe out a vital industry in rural areas?” demanded Pettapiece.

In response, the Minister of Finance claimed the government is working with industry stakeholders towards long-term sustainability. He ignored Pettapiece’s request to commit to keep all racetracks open.

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Video of question: http://pettapiece.ca/?p=4080