Windsor Rally Gathers Hundreds in Support of Horse Racing Industry

Will it be "goodbye" for the Ontario Horse Racing Industry - Photo by Ian Kennedy,

Will it be "goodbye" for the Ontario Horse Racing Industry - Photo by Ian Kennedy,

Standing in front of Windsor Raceway, and the soon to be closed OLG Slots at Windsor Raceway, hundreds of farmers, veterinarians, horse breeders, slots workers, and local citizens gathered to protest the recent Ontario government’s decision to end the slots at racetracks program and close the Windsor slots.

Other union groups were also on hand waving flags in support of the horse industry, as well as the hundreds of Ontario citizens who were told they will soon lose their jobs as a result of the closure of Windsor Raceway, as well as racetracks at Hiawatha (Sarnia) and Fort Erie.

Signs asking to “save raceway slots” and the horse industry in general were held high at the rally, which was lined by tractors and horse trailers.

Another, Ontario-wide rally is being planned for March 26 at Queen’s Park. Bus pick ups are scheduled in Chatham-Kent for local supporters, including those associated with Dresden Raceway, to attend the rally.

Along with the rally which took place Thursday in Windsor, and the rally which will be held next Monday at Queen’s Park,  local politicians have also been vocal about their opposition to the Ontario government’s decision, including Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton who is the provincial representative for Dresden.

McNaughton, a Conservative MPP, spoke on behalf of the horse racing industry Tuesday at Queen’s Park addressing Dwight Duncan, the Ontario Minister of Finance saying,

“My question today is for the Minister of Finance. Minister, last week your government announced a greedy cash grab that will impact over 60,000 hardworking men and women in Ontario’s horse racing industry, killing these good jobs. Only in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario does shutting down an industry that contributes $260 million in direct tax revenue and billions of dollars to the overall economic activity seem like a good idea. No wonder you’re staring in the face of a $30-billion deficit. Your cynical, short-sighted casino plan is not only risky but poorly planning and lacing in any economic reasoning. Clearly, Minister, adding numbers is not your strong suit. Minister, why do you continue to play roulette with Ontario’s economy? Will any cash grab do?”

This speech was greeted by a standing ovation from MPP’s at Queen’s Park. McNaughton and Sarnia MPP Bob Bailey plan to meet track officials and tour Sarnia’s Hiawatha racetrack Friday.

Although no immediate impact has been imparted on Dresden Raceway, the local track will undoubtedly feel pressure this summer to make adjustments in preparation for the end of the slots at racetracks program next March.


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