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Anthony MacDonald's Blog


Is ignorance really bliss?

Published: December 7, 2015 8:33 am ET

Last Comment: December 7, 2015 2:41 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

For the last three years we have done pretty well considering the vast majority of horse people in Ontario have had no voice.

Quietly waiting in the back seat of a cab heading to a destination unknown.
Most of us sitting there googling "integration" and wondering why we haven't had any clarity as to what this word actually means.
Scratching our heads wondering whatever happened to that "one" horsemen's group that we were promised.

It seems that if you need information about our industry, or where we stand with the government, or what our future looks like, you may as well just put a quarter in your local wishing well and wait for a winged messenger as expect a clear and concise answer.

Honestly, do we even have a plan?

Every time I write blogs along these lines, I'm told "there is plenty of work going on behind close doors."

My question is, why behind closed doors?
Why can't we be informed?
Or better yet, why can't we participate?

I understand that deals between operators and the government are their own concern and don't involve horsemen.

But when it comes to my family's future, the future of my friends, and their ability to raise their kids in this industry, why shouldn't we be informed?

At what point do we stop raising our hands and politely asking, and start demanding that we have a look at what our future looks like and who is crafting our supposed contracts?

I put my name forward this summer for the "one" horsemen's group that never came about.
Through the whole ordeal, I knew, if selected, I would have very little input, but at least I would have some? At least I would be informed.

But then as quick as it was dangled in front of us, the proposed "one" horsemen's group was shelved. So again we are left with no voice and no one to talk to.

This isn't the fault of the government or the OLG either.

The OLG isn't a wolf in sheep's clothing.
It has always been a wolf in wolfs clothing.
They have never claimed to be our friend, quite the opposite.
They have not wanted to work with us since SARP was cancelled. (likely long before that)
Forcing our current Premier to drag them kicking and screaming back to us like a mother making a bully apologize to another schoolmate.

Our silence lies squarely on our shoulders.
Where is the outcry over the apparent cancellation of the supposed single horsemen's group?
Where are the questions regarding the absence of the OHR?
Why is it only in program ads and online?
Does it really exist?
If so, what is it doing for us?
Someone is paying for these ads, so where is the "value for money" our industry has been preached at to ask?

Three years this has gone on, when do we say enough with the smoke and mirrors?

Our B-track horsemen are slowly starving.
There is no confidence in our racing, and no public conversation to fix this.

Why is it important to be up front with all of us?

Because without investment we are lost and without confidence there is no investment.

Investors simply don't have confidence in this jurisdiction's ability to allow them to turn a profit.
So they simply don't bother.
If you think otherwise, then you are uninformed or clueless and either one makes you unfit to lead us.

If OHRIA speaks for us then let's start with these two very important questions:

1) How can we put more money in to the B tracks without weakening our grassroots structure? (I heard all year the bet is up everywhere, great news. When does that translate into good news for all of us?)

2) When will one entity speak for us? (Please don't say we have one already)

Maybe it's just easier to put things in place for us, than ask for our input?
As long as we continue to be fractured, our industry will be labeled fractured, and no one has to ask us what we think; if there is no "us".

We are all tried of fighting, and we want to believe someone is working this all out for us, but we need to pay attention now more than ever.

Before the ORC disbands and turns into a giant bureaucratic maze under the AGCO this spring, it would be nice to see them finish the project that they started.
Give this industry its horsemen's group and stop playing games.
People are relying on this industry to live.
Have respect for the people you have been charged with governing for decades.

We have families, and we have no interest in becoming the next Quebec or Illinois.

The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.

December 7, 2015 - 2:41 pmAnthony I agree 100% with

Kim Ahern SAID...

Anthony I agree 100% with your blog. Why are the horse men and women of this province not standing up for themselves? I was involved with racing a few years back with my brothers, who are still in it, but not at the capacity they once were. The horse people of this province would rather have a government, that spends money frivolously on themselves and their friends represent them, than form a committee. The SARP program was never explained to the people of Ontario and it is amazing how many people actually thought that during that time it was taxpayers dollars. This was an industry that was strong and many states in the US have adopted the program that once was here. It seems to me that with the current government is if it works and is giving people a living then something must be wrong with it, so scrap it. The horse people of the province need to stop the disbanding of the ORC and the move to the AGCO nothing good will come from this!

December 7, 2015 - 12:07 pmWayne, I'm assuming you are


I'm assuming you are not sitting at your desk of either omafra, or liberal head quarters, so to assert something with such confidence with no hands on proof is nothing more than pandering to the pessimistic.

First, you draw some great parallels, but this isn't a federal matter and northern cod stocks were disappearing at he time of Mr Crosby.
Although our horse stocks are dwindling, we haven't begun eating them yet. (Atleast not that I'm aware of)

This decision was a hard one to make im sure, but was made to save a species, not because it was a supposed financial burden to a government.

Furthermore it was not done because of a lack of a voice, if my memory serves, the voices of fisherman were quite loud.
Although I can't deny the possibility of a grim future for horse racing, I think it will be around for some time.
What we do with that time is on us.

With respect,

Anthony MacDonald

December 7, 2015 - 11:05 amHey Anthony As per our

Bob Boyd SAID...

Hey Anthony

As per our conversation about the merge nothing seems transparent. Now I didn't speak to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission but according to the ORC they had ALL necessary groups at the table.
My problem is no one seems to really no who these groups are.
I'm with you, there's not enough transparency with regards to the merge.
What language in the "Racing Act" are they changing exactly?
Is this the same changes Brian Tropea is presenting?
We do need one body speaking on behalf of the horsemen, you'd figure after 3 years we'd have this body in place.

It'll be interesting once the ORC merges to see the fallout.

Yours in sport

December 7, 2015 - 9:39 amMR. Macdonald at first when I

MR. Macdonald at first when I read this I thought your question "why behind closed doors" was rhetorical, since you have had some exposure to Provincial Politics and Politicians. But just in case you were not being rhetorical I will tell you. It means nothing is being done and or your being disenfranchised! I will give you a parallel. Years ago when rumours of the Grand Banks fishing being closed were heard, The Newfoundland Fisherman's Association approached the Federal Government to get a "clarification"! Their members were concerned about it because typically they loaned money in the spring to finance their operations. The Federal Government sent The Honourable Minister Of Fisheries John Crosby to meet and speak to The Fisheries Reps in St Johns. Mr Crosby stated "The Grand Banks will not close". The Fisherman bought into it borrowed for the upcoming season and two weeks later The Grand Banks were closed and the Newfoundland Fisherman lost their licenses. In the aftermath most lost their boats some their homes and some much worse! I trust I have made it clear enough for you!!

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