On Monday, January 29, Donna Skelly, PC candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, hosted a town-hall meeting at the Dutch Mill Restaurant to discuss important, current agricultural issues facing the residents of her community.
Skelly was joined by Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford and former Minster of Agriculture, Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, and Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton. Many who attended the town hall meeting expressed concern over a number of issues relating to agriculture, including the regulatory burdens they face and the future of horse racing in Ontario.
In a release sent out by the Ontario PC Party, Skelly was quoted as saying, “During the election just over a year ago, we were talking about how to make this industry better. Now we’re trying to save it, and save your livelihood.”
In reference to tentative deals that a handful of Ontario racetracks have signed with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, McNaughton stated, “All of these deals are being signed in secrecy.” McNaughton, also the PC Critic for Economic Development and Innovation, added, “It’s at the top of our agenda, to try to save those 60,000 jobs.”
More than 60 were in attendance, including local farmers, as well as representatives from the horse-racing industry, and other agricultural associations, voicing their frustration with the lack of consultation they have received from the current Liberal government.
“It’s up to Kathleen Wynne to save the horse-racing industry,” said Hardeman. “But to do that, she would have to admit that they made a mistake.”
(With files from the Ontario PC Party)