Liberals Admit Mistake On Horse Racing
Published: January 29, 2013 9:13 am ET
Last Comment: February 3, 2013 9:31 am ET | 22 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ted McMeekin, has finally come clean to the horse racing industry that the Liberals made a mistake by rushing the decision to end the Slots-at-Racetracks Program (SARP).
While conducting an interview with Andrew Dreschel of the Hamilton Spectator, McMeekin admitted his government "dropped the ball" on horse racing and stated that he hoped that the Liberals would be "A little bit more collaborative then we’ve been. And that we’ll listen better than we have. And we will quit trying to wedge issues."
In reaction, Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce) issued a release on Monday stating that "The Minister and his Liberal government picked an unnecessary battle with the harness racing community and for what? To come back almost a year later and say ‘sorry I was wrong’? If the Minister had sat down, weighed the pros and cons and actually talked to those in the industry then we wouldn’t have had this crisis and he wouldn’t have to issue this mea culpa. This government needs to eliminate making policy on the fly, and start doing the research and listening to the people."
This decision needlessly risked over 55,000 jobs in Ontario’s once thriving horse racing industry and alienated many rural communities.
With Kathleen Wynne noting that she'd handle the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, McMeekin is said to be in line for a position to succeed Laurel Broten as Minister of Education.
“It is about time that the Minister owned up to the mistakes this government has made in terms of their treatment of rural Ontario,” continued Thompson. “Ontario’s horse racing industry has been in complete chaos because of the Liberal government’s decision to end SARP without any planning,” said Thompson. “Now it’s nearly a year later the Minister is just coming to terms that he dropped the ball on this important issue. It took risking 55,000 jobs and nearly a year of uncertainly for the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to even admit he made a mistake and this government has continuously ignored rural concerns.”