On Monday, March 26, members and supporters of Ontario's horse-racing industry showed up at Queen's Park en masse to protest the Ontario Liberal Government's decision to close slot parlours at a number of provincial raceways and inexplicably walk away from the mutually-beneficial and highly-successful slots-at-racetracks contractual partnership.
With buses from all over the province converging on Queen's Park, more than 1,500 individuals, including MPPs, representatives from all of Ontario's horsemen's groups and other political representatives, congregated in order to let elected leaders and the mass media know that the industry will not take the Liberals' hasty, misinformed, and reckless decision in stride.
The Ontario Harness Horse Association worked tirelessly quarterbacking the rally.
"Unfortunately, the Liberal Party doesn't seem to be listening at this point, but (with) more events like this they will have to start listening," OHHA General Manager Brian Tropea told Trot Insider.
"I was tremendously pleased with [the turnout]. These people have work to do --- they have to get up and tend to their horses. Most of the people who were on the lawn today had to make arrangements with other people to fill in and do their work for them. They travelled from all over Ontario to be here. It's not like they were within an hour's drive. Some of these people were on a bus at four o'clock this morning. It took a tremendous effort to be here, and the industry appreciates it, obviously."
In closing multiple raceway slots parlours and planning to step away from the economic machine which is the slots-at-racetracks program, the Provincial Liberal Government has essentially taken the stance that employing 60,000 Ontarians, raking in more than $1.36-billion in direct annual revenue, and creating $2-billion in annual economic impact for the province is not worth trumpeting, let alone saving.
Trot Insider is following the happenings at Queen's Park, and will update this note with more information shortly.
The Ontario McGuinty Government has insistently said that value for money is very important for both the province's current and future economic climate. In response to that, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, the voice for the province's horse-racing industry, launched value4money.ca, a website devoted to showing that the current slots-at-racetracks agreement between the Ontario Government and the provincial horse-racing industry is an overwhelmingly positive venture for both the residents and government of Ontario.http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/news/3-26-12/large-turnout-queens-park-rally.html