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Do Something To Save Racing. Now.

Published: February 16, 2012 2:52 pm ET

Last Comment: March 15, 2012 9:10 am ET | 30 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

If you are ever going to get on your feet for a horse race, you’d better do it now.

The release of Wednesday's Drummond report included, amongst other comments, the following:

Recommendation 11-11: Review and rationalize the current provincial financial support provided to the horse racing industry so that the industry is more appropriately sustained by the wagering revenues it generates rather than through subsidies or their preferential treatments.

If you don't take action, you share responsibility in the result.

YOU NEED TO GET ON THE PHONE and contact the Minister of Finance, the Premier, your MPP, and members of the opposition. YOU NEED TO SHOW UP AT THE OFFICE OF YOUR MPP AND TELL THEM WHY THE FUTURE OF HORSE RACING IS THE FUTURE OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. In addition to this, you certainly know others that you can forward this link to who will be adversely affected if this change in policy occurs. Have them do the same.

See the following talking points which you can refer to in your correspondence, as well as contacts for some of the appropriate recipients. Be sure to note your personal involvement in the industry and that of your family and community!


1. The idea that the agreement between the Ontario government and the horse racing industry is anything other than a partnership is offensive. At the expense of the racing industry, facilities were improved to accommodate slot parlors on behalf of the government -- slot parlors that are in fact competition for an industry that had developed itself over many decades. The agreement, to this day, pours 75% of all slots revenue into Ontario government coffers, gives 5% to the municipalities where these facilities are located, and allots the remaining 20% to the industry. Industry money maintains jobs while providing a solid base in the rural agricultural economy.

2. 60,000 people are employed by the horse racing industry in Ontario. 60,000 real people... real men and women for whom racing means food on the table and a roof over their heads. Together, we represent the same number of Ontario employees as the province’s entire public sector! A total of $1.5 billion in wages and salaries are sustained annually by total expenditures of the Ontario horse racing and breeding industry.

3. A loss of horse racing revenue is a net loss to Ontarians. The province receives $261 million a year directly from the horse racing industry and its participants... not counting the more than $1 billion which they collect as their share of the slots revenue from parlours at our facilities. The industry as a whole also accounts for $2 billion in annual expenditures... up 67% from 2000.

4. Horse racing industry is the second largest sub-sector of Ontario's agricultural economy with an economic contribution in excess of wheat, eggs, poultry and hogs in 2010.


WHO CAN I WRITE?

Send your message here to your local MPP:
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_current.do

Or here:
http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/about/contactus/

Or email Premier Dalton McGuinty directly here:
dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Or Finance Minister Dwight Duncan here:
dduncan.mpp@liberal.ola.org

You may want to CC Tim Hudak, leader of the opposition, here:
tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

Or Andrea Horwath, leader of Ontario's NDP party, here:
ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca


WHAT TO TWEET?

60,000 jobs are attributed to the #OntarioHorseRacing and breeding industry. Retweet, spread the word! http://goo.gl/Cu9xj

Gov't revenues from the #OntarioHorseRacing industry are up 27% in the last decade! Retweet! http://goo.gl/Cu9xj

#OntarioHorseRacing & breeding industry is the 2nd largest subsector of agriculture economy! Retweet! http://goo.gl/Cu9xj

80% of #OntarioHorseRacing's expenditures occur in and support rural communities! Retweet! http://goo.gl/Cu9xj

#OntarioHorseRacing 60,000 jobs, $261 million to provincial government, $138 million to local municipalities. Retweet! http://goo.gl/Cu9xj

March 15, 2012 - 9:10 amAdministration's do not last

Bob Boyd SAID...

Administration's do not last forever.
As it looks the Liberal government is taking the approach "my way or the highway"
The quickest solution is to vote them out of power.
If people think the Liberals are going to change the direction they are taking then they are delusional.
Obviously the Liberal government is bound & bent to ruin what was a good workng, profitable relationship with the horse industry and
local municipalities.

March 14, 2012 - 8:31 amMy letter sent to McGuinty

Mary DeLuca SAID...

My letter sent to McGuinty government!

RE: Save Horse Racing! Save the OLG Program!

I feel that the loss of this great industry will be life deteriorating and devastating to this province. It will force thousands of good hard working Canadians out of work and kill their livelihood; not just folks that own horses, but the farms and businesses within the communities that rely on the industry are endless.

We race horses and spend thousands of dollars yearly into our own community and the racing community. My husband has been part of this industry for almost 50 years; he is the 3rd generation in his family which tells you how long this industry has survived and prospered. There are thousands of people out there who rely on this industry, drivers, trainers, farmers, stables, etc. The list is endless; as you are provided of the many facts that have been presented to your government from representatives in the industry who are better informed than Mr. Drummond and Mr. Duncan.

Ontario has been successful and is reputable for that success in this industry. We are leaders and our industry brings in contributers/supporters from the United States, other Provinces and over seas!!! It is because of our unfailing contributions to the government through our communities and beyond, that we have been successful and profitable.

We take straw and we spin it into gold! That's how this industry works!

It is absolutely devastating that the Liberals resort to slander and misrepresentation of this industry; that it takes away from our children! How childish is that for a government to stoop to such a "low" level. What about taking away a little girl’s daddy’s horse and shutting down her daddy's horse farm or stable, a farm/stable that puts food in the farmer's children's mouths. I would bet that there will be an endless stream of children that will be affected by the loss of this industry, more so profound than the need to extend these children’s “daycare hours”.

Perhaps the Liberals need to come down off YOUR high horses and get a realty "check". Listen to our leaders in the industry, read the facts, understand what it all means and leave the horse racing industry alone. With such a prosperous industry, the government should be looking into ways to help support it and keeping it strong because of it's endless contributions to the province including “daycare”, “healthcare”, etc….

It will be a dark day when the government slams the gavel and "kills" horse racing. It will be felt across our Nation and beyond for a long time to come. How horrible is that? More so, how shameful is that!

Please save racing, only you have that power, and only you can restore the pride and integrity in all of us! Keep us strong! Save Horse Racing! Save the OLG Program --for God’s sake and for the sake of this province and all us Ontarians --GET REAL-- GET THE FACTS AND GET EDUCATED PLEASE!

March 13, 2012 - 10:42 amTo:

To: ted.chudleigh@pc.ola.org (MPP)
Cc: dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, dduncan.mpp@liberal.ola.org, tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org, ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca

.
.

Dear Mr Chudleigh,

I am contacting you today as a new resident in this great city of Milton and I would appreciate your help.

I have personally been involved in the horse racing industry for just over 3 years. Within this limited time I have invested both personal assets and family inheritance which was left behind by my parents. In the past few weeks the horse racing industry has come under fire from this province's very own finance minister Dwight Duncan. The suggestions made by Mr Duncan have been challenged by the over 60,000 members directly involved within the Industry which provides billions to our government. In his suggestion Mr Duncan asks that the government and OLGC part ways with the racing industry and dissolve a relationship that not only employees over 60,000 Jobs, but also is one of the most profitable for our government. I ask you to please step forward as our MPP in a riding that has a huge population directly involved within this industry. I am personally ashamed by my government who would take steps to bury something that took years to make near perfect. I cannot speak for others, but I can speak for myself and I urge you to make a difference.

Regards,

Adriano Sorella

March 12, 2012 - 2:31 pmI may live in KY, but my

Andy Roberts SAID...

I may live in KY, but my mares AND money go to Ontario. Unbelievably shortsighted philosophy from the Liberals. I have sent emails to the Premier, Finance minister, and MPP for Woodbine. If they want to keep collecting that HST every month, they better think this one through. People from all over the world invest lots of money in Ontario Racing. Investment means jobs and taxes! A much smarter idea would be to GUARANTEE a program for the future, that would attract mares (and investment) from jurisdictions that are shaky going forward (PA, etc..) I suggested to that he McGuinty get on The National and absolutely remove any possibility of this plan going into action. It's economic suicide for Ontario Agriculture!

March 6, 2012 - 5:00 pmLets keep the pressure on

Brett Riley SAID...

Lets keep the pressure on the Liberal Government to change its stance on the horseracing industry. The budget is coming out soon. Theres a good comment by Derek Reid under Liberal Attack Adds if you haven,t read it. Keep up the good fight.

March 1, 2012 - 7:17 pmDavid Willmot is calling a

Cam McKnight SAID...

David Willmot is calling a spade a spade. The Government is acting "recklessly".

He is also dead on with his comment about the industry already being damaged. Breeders (standardbred, thoroughbred and quarter-horse) are indeed considering US stallions. I personally have 4 mares -- all were intended to go to Ontario studs.

The stud fees I was looking at for my four mares would be worth approximately 20k. Given the moves of the Ontario government (ie uncertainty of purses, sires stakes, breeders awards, etc.), I have only signed off on one mare at this point.

I want to breed the three others to Ontario sires; I want to feed them Ontario hay/grain. I want to use Ontario vets to take care of these mares and re-breed them. I will use Ontario blacksmiths, Ontario trainers, and hopefully go to watch them race at Ontario tracks.

I want to SPEND MY MONEY IN ONTARIO -- but that would be FOOLHARDY if the GOVERNMENT STRIPS THE PROGRAM.

The Ohio slots program begins this year. NY is blossoming, most of the others seem pretty stable. Does the government not realize our horse-people will forced to moved to these other jurisdictions if they stay on their destructive path? Do they not realize the spinoff of this downsizing?

Everyone in this industry (bottom to top) needs to keep the pressure on. I'm trusting that OHRIA is lobbying McGuinty/Duncan, and hopefully they are using high profile people (ie Willmot).

Breeding season is on us NOW. Every day in limbo is costing this Province.

February 27, 2012 - 10:28 amEveryone would be wise to

LIZ THERRIEN SAID...

Everyone would be wise to read the editorial "What's the Liberal plan?" in today's star and start bombarding them with letters to the editor. oped@thestar.ca
I also copied aphillips@thestar.ca and jcruickshank@thestar.ca

Here is what I sent:

I am writing in regards to your editorial What's the Liberal plan? page a10 Feb. 27, 2012.

First let me say that I am appalled that the Toronto Star would help the Dalton McGuinty et al pull the wool over the public eyes by perpetrating the myth that the taxpayer is funding race tracks be they 1 or 17 in number. I hope you will take the time to read the attached letter to my Liberal MP Reza Moridi outlining what I see as the true nature of this story. Your article would lead people to believe that this about closing a few race tracks to save money which is not the case at all.

Racetracks are not owned or funded by the government. The government pays a percentage under legal contract (10% track, 10% to purse money, 5% to the hosting municipality) of their slot revenue as compensation for renovation and maintenance to house the slots.

What the Liberals are proposing is akin to them renting part of your home under contract and suddenly saying that that rent is a subsidy and they are cancelling it. Then they try to tell you that the money they save will go to health care instead of the truth which is that the money will be used to rent, buy, build or renovate another premises.

In the case of the horse racing the "savings" will also have to be used to fund the items I have outlined in my letter to Mr Morizi which include EI, welfare or retraining costs for the thousands of people he is putting out of work.

You have the resouces to check all this information and I hope you will do so and then apologize to the horse racing industry by publishing the other side of the story.

I have always been a Liberal but I am ashamed of this government for not doing their homework in this matter.

Here are a couple of links to substantiate my position.

www.saveliveracing.com please look the comments section

http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/news/ please look the article "racing City Mayors speak out".

I would like to note here that I have no financial stake in horse racing at all but I am a fan and occasional bettor. I believe that the idea of cancelling the revenue sharing agreement with the racetracks is completely without merit and can only cause even more financial problems than we already have in this Province.

February 26, 2012 - 11:19 amHello

Joe Gregory SAID...

Hello Everyone,

www.saveliveracing.com

This website was specifically created to help everyone who cares about live racing to voice their opinions and reach over 200 politicians across ontario. Preview the list of recipients at http://saveliveracing.com/recipients.html

Thank you everyone for your support.

February 25, 2012 - 10:49 pmHello, I would like to post

Kelly Carson SAID...

Hello, I would like to post the information I have managed together regarding where the industry likely is standing and propose an alternative solution to both the government and the horse racing industry's problem.

Firstly as we all know quite well what we are dealing with is a revenue sharing agreement between the various tracks and the government. This agreement splits the slot money 75% to the government 20% to the racetrack and 5% to the local municipality. How the 20% each track gains are split is part of the agreement between the government and the local horsemen representation, being for example Cosa or OHHA. These agreements though do have a term to them and have to be renewed by both the government and the racetrack. My understanding is that WEG's agreement is up for renewal in 2015. If you were to stop the funds that are allocated from such an agreement before this time the party responsible for breaching the contract is expected to compensate for the expected revenue and then sum. Now at this stage I'm just guess but if WEG is responsible for 70% of the slot revenue we are talking about them alone suing the government for around $750,000,000 should they breach the contract today. Should the government breach the contract we are then also able to shutdown the current operation of slots until it has been dealt with in court. That is to say should government breach the contract today and it takes a year for the courts to address the situation the government will be looking at a 2 billion dollars lost over the course of a year when you consider the additional revenue they would have gained.

What this means is that it is unlikely the Government is going to attempt to cut horse racing's share off in the near future. What we are going to see is either they will try to negotiate for a larger cut of the percentage or that they will attempt to cut in on racing's profits by opening up competing slot parlors or they will simply not choose to renew their agreements. While there is a law saying you can't open up a business in direct competition with a longtime established business it starts to become hazy when you are placing a slot parlor on the other side of Toronto or in rural communities a long ways away from a racetrack that locals would have been willing to travel to.

Personally I believe what the Government is going to do is try and eliminate their agreements with the smaller tracks. This is largely because many of the smaller tracks do not do the same upkeep job that some of the other tracks do and subsequently affects their potential slot earnings. Secondly many of these tracks have such low wagering that pretty much all their revenue comes from slots which means that if you cut them off their money you can shut them down and open up a slot parlor that would bring in relatively the same crowd without paying the 20%. The reason some of the larger tracks are more immune to this is the law I described above. They can continue to operate even though at a dramatically reduced income. The tracks that I believe the government will be targeting are Kawartha, Dresden, Hanover, Clinton, Woodstock and Sudbury.

So now we come to the solution stage of the post. The main thing to remember is that the government is really just looking for money. If you can manage to have them to agree to something that they will make more money off of that would also increase our revenue they would agree to it. What I propose is that the various track operators and the Government attempt change our percent cut from 20% to between 12-15% in exchange for having Horse Racing able to be gambled on at the local convenience store along with the various lotteries. Why would the Government agree to something that would hurt their lottery cut? That is because while horse racing will compete for a share of their lottery market it also now becomes accessible to skilled gamblers. Horse Racing is different from a lottery because you can figure it out. While very few people actually do figure it out, it is possible. What this means is that there is an untapped niche to which can be tapped that we can agree to give a share of the profits from too. The upsides to this are dramatic as well. The various tracks that do a poor upkeep job will now move in to try and better their product as it will directly lead to increased revenue. Everyone benefits so then the government can invest their money into our healthcare system with great ideas coming from places like Orange.

February 25, 2012 - 11:49 amJust like to say that I sent

Terry Lantz SAID...

Just like to say that I sent a long winded letter to Lisa MacLeod, MPP for the riding Rideau Carleton Raceway is located. I just wanted to stress to her how important this business is and that alot of MPP's in area's that have a racetrack have voiced there concern and that i hoped that she would too. I cannot stress how important it is for EVERYONE in this business to send a letter or e-mail to your local MPP. at first i thought, OK what is my e-mail going to do, is my e-mail going to make a difference. then i remembered that i've been married to this business (employed directly) for over 27 years. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME AND MAKE AN EFFORT TO VOICE YOUR CONCERN. if not your purses will look like they are in Michigan or even worse......like the racing is in Quebec.....GONE.

your letter or e-mail won't take as long to write as it takes to read some of the postings your now reading. get off your ass and voice your concerns.

February 22, 2012 - 8:44 pmGreat Letter Blair...facts

Great Letter Blair...facts that no one can deny. Congratulations to everyone who was in attendance today at Queens Park, and also a big thank you to all of you who could not be with us as you were doing what we do best...working to provide world class racing across all Breeds in Ontario. Working so you can feed your families, and pay your mortgages, and the feed mill, the blacksmith, the person who pumps your gas, the piano teacher, power skating coach, dentist, pharmacist, etc...etc...etc...and of course our taxes.

February 28, 2012 - 8:22 amLADIES AND GENTLEMEN---THIS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN---THIS IS A BATTLE no IT IS A WAR NOW--- FOR YOUR SURVIVAL---ACT NOW or LOAD YOUR TRAILERS.

THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE ---SO ---EVERYONE ---CAN DO THIS--

This is the Liberal government proposing this correct---

YOU MUST CALL, EMAIL,TWEET, FAX,-- ALL ---THE LIBERAL POLITICANS OF ONTARIO ---not just once but--- EVERY DAY ---TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY until the budget comes out

HERE IS YOUR LINK TO ALL THE LIBERAL POLITICANS-----http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_current.do
YOU MUST EMAIL,FAX-- EVERY--- LIBERAL RIDING PRESIDENT --- NOT JUST ONCE BUT EACH DAY ----TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY until the budget comes out .

HERE IS YOUR LINK WITH THE EMAIL ADDRESSES http://www.ontarioliberal.ca/OurTeam/WhoWeAre/PLAPresidents.aspx

they can't remember if you sent them something yesterday or not,so you may not be thousands and thousands but they will think you are and just might change their minds and direction.

THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST DO --TAKE THE TIME--DO IT --YOU WILL BE REWARDED

GOOD LUCK ALL-- OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU

February 22, 2012 - 3:13 pmI am tired of reading items

I am tired of reading items that the Liberals can't figure out. You have run money into the ground through eHealth and ORNGE. Some of the actions are criminal.

I can't wait for the next election. I am going to run against you and have the money in the bank, as well as others in the rural community who have told me they will support me.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copy of email sent to Liberal MPP whose territory includes Kawartha Downs.

Philip Dawson

February 22, 2012 - 11:25 amFebruary 20, 2012 To Whom It

February 20, 2012

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Keith Cassell. I am a 2nd generation family member involved in the horse racing industry in Ontario.
My mother, father, my wife Joan and 4 sons (including 16 grandchildren) have all raced standardbreds at various tracks in Ontario.
Aside from the numbers and information provided by O.H.R.I.A., together with my sons, I want to emphasize the peripheral businesses that become immediately affected...from farriers to veterinarians, from farm supply businesses to feed stores, the affected numbers are astronomical… for we are part of a larger industry… the service industry!!
We support the position of all O.H.R.I.A members in opposing the proposed amendments which would affect the allocation of the revenue from the slots at Ontario Race Tracks.
The horse racing industry would be irreversibly damaged if such a proposal was enacted.
We are writing this letter as people who have been involved in the horse racing industry for the past 55 years. I am an owner, but I have also participated in all aspects of the horse racing industry, as have my sons, in a very substantial manner. This has now become a vocation for members of the family. We have a large investment in our horses and equipment. In addition, we have purchased a significant amount of farmland which is only warranted by the revenue produced from the horse racing proceeds. Our horses are kept on these farms and within their structures.
My family and I own between 50 and 70 horses which provide employment for support staff, local merchants, laborers as well as part or full time employment for my children and grandchildren.
This income produces substantial tax revenue to various levels of government... property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes.
We are aware of the O.H.R.I.A presentation and I fully recommend their adoption... to consider such a draconian alteration … which would affect one of the few industries still vibrant in Ontario... the change would not only be contrary to the general interests of all of Ontario, but a further blow to the cherished rural values and contributions which the farming and agriculture industries make to the non-urban areas of the province.
As I said before, if the O.H.R.I.A recommendations and steps are not taken, the damage will be irreversible.

Yours Truly,

Keith Cassell

cc: M.P.P's: Hudak, Hillyer, McGuinty,Clark, Mcleod, Duncan

February 22, 2012 - 3:01 amBlair Corbeil makes some

Blair Corbeil makes some interesting points about the impact of Ontario Horse Racing on the national economy and vice versa. I wrote an extensive letter to my local MPP but here is the letter I wrote to everyone else I could think of in the Government, House and Ministry of Finance:

              Dear Sir:

                             I am sending along this note just to be certain you are aware of the devastating impact a proposal in the Drummond Report will have on Halton in particular and Ontario in general. It reads as follows: "Recommendation 11-11: Review and rationalize the current provincial financial support provided to the horse racing industry so that the industry is more appropriately sustained by the wagering revenues it generates rather than through subsidies or their preferential treatments." I am sure you have probably heard other complaints on this issue already, but I just wanted to reiterate a few points.

                           Firstly, the recommendation is not only faulty, it is based on a false premise. Racing receives no subsidy nor does it receive preferential treatment. Racing has had to endure, through government competition in the form of lotteries and casinos, ever since it lost its monopoly on wagering in the early 70's. For it to exist solely from pari-mutual wagering dollars would have been extremely difficult if not impossible. Out of necessity an agreement was reached between Racing and the Government to form a partnership that would allow racing to remain viable and competitive. At the EXPENSE of the racing industry, facilities were improved to accommodate slot parlors on behalf of the government -- slot parlors that are in fact competition for an industry that had developed itself over many decades and is part of the historical fabric of the province. The agreement, to this day, pours 75% of all slots revenue into Ontario government coffers, gives 5% to the municipalities (ie. you are certainly aware of the many projects in and around surrounding communities that would not have been possible were it not for this) where these facilities are located, and allots the remaining 20% to the industry. Industry money maintains jobs while providing a solid base in the rural agricultural economy.

                     So for the report to even imply that the Government should take ALL the revenue (they already take 75%) from the racetrack slots is offensive in addition to being wrong-headed. With this sort of business philosophy, what would have been the incentive for the Racing industry to enlarge and improve their facilities for slots if they were to get nothing out of it?

                      Supposing the Government could somehow rationalize that these monies are rightfully theirs (also ignoring the fact most Racetrack operators have contracts in place with the Government, some extending several years into the future) it still would be making a grievous error in provincial management. The Racing industry employs 60,000 people in Ontario. Many of these jobs are in the Halton Region, where I live, as it is of course a racing hotbed with Mohawk Raceway at its centre. The area is full of equine establishments that are racing related: breeding farms, training centers, veterinary clinics and many small family farms that depend on horses. Many of those holding jobs in the industry are either un-skilled, or limited in their skill to a particular job related to horses. It would be difficult and extremely expensive to retrain this number of people. Surely many would end up on welfare if the Racing industry was negatively impacted by the Government's actions.

                                All over Ontario and especially in communities like Halton there are many tertiary benefits to the Racing industry also. The impact on the economy is extensive. Feed stores, hay and grain growers, truck dealers, tractor and farm supply stores, tack shops, veterinary clinics etc. are all directly impacted by the ups and downs of the Racing Industry. In 2010 the Horse Racing industry was the second largest sub sector of the Ontario Agricultural economy with an economic contribution in excess of wheat, eggs, poultry, and hogs. So not only does the Ontario Government get a $Billion annually in slot revenue just from the racinos, it also receives a lot of HST, income tax and other revenues from the Racing Industry that are difficult to even measure.

                             I am a horse trainer myself that has used Halton as my base of operations for 25 years. Through all the advantages I have gained in being able to operate in the healthy horse environment that Ontario and Halton thus far has offered, I have expanded dramatically, building new structures on my farm. The good facilities and environment offered has allowed me to produce and train a Trotting Triple Crown winner and two Hambletonian winners, the most prestigious race in our sport. I hope that the present provincial government in its quest to "balance the books" doesn't eliminate my opportunity to continue to do this AND at the same time destroy one of its healthy industries. 

                                I hope there is some agreement or understanding of the sentiments I have expressed in this note. Certainly there is much misinformation being bandied about in the media and by certain politicians. The correct message needs to be conveyed by those to whom others will listen. OHRIA or the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association has all the correct and pertinent info at www.ohria.com. 

                                  Thanks and yours truly, Blair R. Burgess

February 21, 2012 - 3:44 pmI would also like to point

I would also like to point out that there are several horse owners here in Alberta that buy and race Ontario bred horses. Not only do we race them and send our oil dollars to Ontario but we also breed and bring Ontario bred horses back here to the west. The industry is no longer only about people in Ontario. How many business' and how many government think tanks are at this moment trying to figure out how to get more busines and dollars from other markets than just locally. Ontario has an industry that does just that. The horse racing industry in Ontario brings in millions of dollars every year from horse owners, breeders, and others who use the products and services found in Ontario. Even the vets and vet colleges see an impact from outside sources and WE ALL PAY THE HST.

It really is too bad that we have to take time from our busy schedules to remind the government what a good program they implemented in the past years and that it is really working.For every dollar invested by government into horse racing, it is getting a fantastic return on investment. I know that there is no other goverment program out there where the government gets a return on Investment like they get from horse racing. Arts and culture and all the other various programs that are in place to hopefully acccomplish what the slot program has accomplished for the agriculture industry do not even come close to providing these types of returns on investment. The government finally has a succcessful job creation and tax revenue income program that works and now they want to screw with it. Please do not let them get away with this. There are fans, owners and breeders across this great country that rely on the Ontario program to be strong and to continue to lead the way in this country.

I am sure there are many people outside of Ontario that would like to put our support in writing but do not know who to send this to as we are not all that familiar with Ontario politics. I would hope that Standardbred Canada could act as a go between and get our comments and concerns into the right people's mail box.

February 21, 2012 - 11:11 amLike every member I do agree

David Conrad SAID...

Like every member I do agree now is the time to make a noise. I however feel it is time to make an effort to put people in the Grand
Stand. This is the only way possible for our industry to survive. We need to show them we are putting forth effort to improve our industry.

February 20, 2012 - 9:14 pmGrey-Bruce PC MPP Bill

Tim Dean SAID...

Grey-Bruce PC MPP Bill Walker has responded to my email
He has been in contact with Hanover Raceway Rep. Gord Duggan, and voiced his concerns and stated the possible negative impact on his region.
The MPP from Grey-Bruce has promised to take action if the the Liberals attempt to change the contract in place

February 20, 2012 - 10:07 amNote to Allison Ramsay and

Note to Allison Ramsay and also to SC:
Allison-your post that 75,000 people depend on the 60,000 Horsepeople is something that our legal team needs to take to the table. I knew that there was X number of people depending on the Horsepeople, but never dreamed it was 75,000 people selling trucks, feed, boots, horse equipment etc. You are to be congratulated on this eye opener.

The Horsepeople and Standardbred Canada thank you. When these gold nuggets come in every so often, they do two things--boost up the morale of the Horsepeople, and 2)provide our legal team with further ideas of the important items they will need to turn the tide for our side, the side that is on the right side of the ledger.

February 20, 2012 - 8:35 amTourism another factor that

Ed Sayfie SAID...

Tourism another factor that has not been mentioned. We live in Michigan and often travel to Canada (Toronto) to watch our horses race, and in doing so our stay is 2 to 3 days. In this time we spend money on gas, lodging, food and shopping, all of which helps the economy and the goverment with the taxes we pay. I know that there are many others in Michigan and other states that so the same. I hope that your goverment takes note of this factor.

Edward Sayfie

February 19, 2012 - 7:01 pmThere is an article titled,

There is an article titled, 'Contribution of the Horseman Component of the Harness Horse Industry,' found at http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/other/contribution_OHHA_report.pdf

The research article was undertaken by economics and business professors at University of Guelph detailing the broader impact of the standardbred sector (note it is 2004). It details that each horseman job in the standardbred industry supports one and a quarter additional jobs that are indirectly dependent on it (see table 4, page 9 - economic multiplier 2.23). Horse people buy trucks, gas, food, etcetera, and circulate their dollars throughout the economy.

While there are 60,000 people employed 'direcly' in horse racing, another 75,000(?) are employed in indirect and induced jobs that are dependent on these original 60,000 (based on the economic multiplier of 2.23).

Let's make use of this published research and educate the politicians. They need to know that the impact will be closer to 135,000 jobs, when considering the direct, indirect and induced jobs in this industry.

February 19, 2012 - 4:35 pmClay Powell QC seems to

Clay Powell QC seems to understand the problem 100%. Also, he's a top lawyer and goes to the races a few times per year. Add to the mix lawyer Bob Burgess who is involved with horses. I read his posting on these pages somewhere and his total take on the whole thing was 110%.

So, some how these two lawyers might be able to spearhead talks with the Liberals.That's what we need--somebody to talk to the Liberals on their own level, someone with top legal training.
Of all the posting I have read since this story broke, the above two lawyers are in my opinion, the best allies to have at this crucial time.

Do the math: Clay Powell QC + lawyer Robert Burgess + contract expert to be named = we win the battle that never should have been given to the Horsemen in the first place.

February 18, 2012 - 1:12 pmIf your looking for a high

gord young SAID...

If your looking for a high profile player for our side here is a copy of Clay Powell's next column in the London Paper. Clay is one of Canada's most decorated criminal lawyers..col appears Feb 23/12

COLUMN FEBRUARY 23, 2012
CLAY POWELL, QC
Our happy jokester Premier Dalt is having another laff at our expense. This time, with the help of Fearless Dwight Duncan, the man in charge of recklessly spending all our money, and a guy named Drummond who has added up our loses, Dalt’s considering shutting down our beloved trotting horse industry.
Of course, he’s not serious. How better to slap us southwestern Ontarians who didn’t trample fellow citizens racing to the ballot box, to vote Liberal in the last election.
It seems like just yesterday, in fact it was 5 years ago, that agreements were reached between the province and the smaller race tracks in our area, that would provide jobs and give a great boost to the racing industry.
Ontario gets $1.4 billion each year from slot machines at 17 Ontario racetracks, and 20 per cent of that figure goes to the racing industry. That’s $345 million that goes to owners, trainers, hot-walkers, stable staff and scores of others directly and indirectly involved in the sport.
And then there’s a whole bunch of people like me who just like to get out on a weekend to bet a few bucks and enjoy the atmosphere at a local track. What started out as a win-win agreement has been turned around by Mr. Duncan who now calls the arrangement “Ontario’s annual $345-million dollar subsidy for horse racing.”
You get the picture. You go in business with the government, work your butt off to complete your end of the bargain, and then the kindly government claims they’ve been paying you a subsidy and now they’ve decided to keep all the money. Talk about wretched two-timing!
So what happens to the people who worked so hard to make it all work: the horse guys and gals? Tough on you, good on us, says Premier Dalt.
I have no doubt it’s ticked off the government to see any gambling proceeds going anywhere than in their pockets. Add to that the ultimate indignity that these race track louts had the nerve to vote for anybody but the Liberals.
I don’t really care if all the cabinet ministers at Queen’s Park give up their drivers and limousines and take the bus to work. Or maybe they should be like the Mennonites and use the soon-to-be useless trotting horses, hook then up to small wagons, and drive them to work. The horses could eat the grass outside the legislature and the government could fire the gardeners, sell off the lawn mowers, and save all that gas money!
If the cost-cutting recommendations made by Mr. Drummond doesn’t do the job, I have a couple of pals here in London who would love to join me in preparing a new report for you, Mr. Duncan.
And you won’t have to pay us each $1500 a day. We’ll work for the love of the job.

February 18, 2012 - 7:16 amAlready sent my letter with

Already sent my letter with concerns to Mr. McNaughton. I suggest everyone involved in this industry to do the same and send letters or e-mails to their representatives. The liberals go through with this ridiculous plan you can say goodbye to this industry forever. ACT NOW!!!

February 17, 2012 - 5:25 pmSave our industry!!!

Sara Frey SAID...

Save our industry!!!

February 17, 2012 - 8:38 amWhy is everyone involved

Why is everyone involved with this ignoring the obvious. The obvious is the government arrogance and waste. Becuase they get elected they feel they have the right to literally squander all our resources. There is no accountability. How quick we forget the billion dollars wasted on his e-health initiative which was a complete waste of our tax dollars. Maybe if Mr. McGuinty was to repay the tax dollars he squandered on e-health, this would be a good start. Why do we have to pay for their vanity and arrogance? We are taxed to death here. When you consider how much tax money is raised by the harness racing industry, do you not think that this report is a little short of being complete and accurate? It is obvious to those in the industry about the ripple effect and exactly how much is contributed to the tax coffers. But for those who do not walk in our shoes, do not understand. There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

February 16, 2012 - 9:34 pmMoney talks. We need to "Bet

Money talks. We need to "Bet Canadian" harness racing year-round to make the point that this is a viable industry going through a rough patch, not a charity in constant need.

Next time a friend is going to the casino, suggest the OTB instead. Introduce someone who likes online poker or sports betting to online wagering. Remind everyone you know of the true odds of lottery wins, & be prepared to teach them about wagering on harness racing--especially if you are a fairly successful horseplayer.

We have to keep it top of mind that harness racing is not a horse show. In other words, don't let the general public continue to believe that racing is only for wealthy celebrities and businessmen flaunting their riches. Politicians need to hear that there are everyday, normal Canadians for whom harness racing is their bread & butter. The jobs created by this industry employ many Canadians who could end up needing social assistance programs if they lose their jobs as grooms, track employees, etc. After Sackville Downs closed in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, the community was cited in a local newspaper as having the highest welfare rate in the municipality.

FINGERS CROSSED for you, Ontario racing industry, & I will keep betting your product & spreading the word!

February 16, 2012 - 8:26 pmWe feed closer to 1/2 a bale

Lynne Magee SAID...

We feed closer to 1/2 a bale per horse per day but even at that and at a low of $3.00 per bale, that is over 16 million dollars just for hay for race horses in Ontario. I imagine it sells for more in the cities. If you're lucky enough to be able to sell it to the southern States at $8 to $12 per bale a hay farmer can do very well. Straw and shavings are a huge business as well.

February 16, 2012 - 6:56 pmI feel for all you guys and

I feel for all you guys and ladies in Ontario, i hope you all stick together on this. I have been racing horses for thirty years in Nova Scotia and Alberta and now in Saskatchewan and it is the same battle in all three Provinces. But if racing in Ontario dies, all of Canada is in trouble, all Canadians should stand as one and back Ontario.

Shawn Worthen

February 16, 2012 - 5:18 pmI have already heard back

Cam McKnight SAID...

I have already heard back from the two MPP's that my community (Tillsonburg) straddles.

Ernie Hardeman (Oxford) is the Agricultural and Rural Affairs critic for the Conservatives. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk) is the Community and Social Services critic for the Conservatives. Hardeman is well versed (and supportive) on the issue. Barrett called me for more detailed information because he is attending a caucus meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss our situation.

I point this out because MPP's are listening, and the more info you flood them with, the better the chances of success.

An interesting talking point that provides an instant visual image.

29,300 RACE HORSES IN ONTARIO, 1 BALE OF HAY PER DAY PER HORSE = 10,701,070 BALES PER YEAR. --- OVER 10 MILLION. Where do the Premier and Finance Minister think those 10 million bales (per year) come from?

If the Queens Park Protest is a go, 10 million bales of hay on the Queens Park front lawn would make quite a statement.


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