A Wednesday, October 10 press conference hosted by Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath and Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla has given the province's much embattled horse-racing industry a shot in the arm in its fight against the minority Ontario Liberal Government's controversial gaming modernization plan.
At the press conference, which took place at Hamilton City Hall, Horwath and Merulla called on the Liberals and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to put its modernization plans on hold until potential host municipalities for casinos can definitively gauge constituents on the controversial topic of urban casino expansion via referendum.
An article by the Hamilton Spectator covering the press conference also states that Horwath filed a motion in the Ontario Legislature last week which calls on the Ontario Liberals to postpone the modernization process until the referendums can truly unveil the wishes of taxpayers.
The report quoted Horwath as saying that “It’s time for government to stop talking down to people an open up its ears and listen to people for a change," and that "It’s time to listen to local voices here in Hamilton and in communities across the province, as well as the voices of the people in the horse-racing industry.”
The article states that Horwath has not yet officially asked Tim Hudak's Ontario Progressive Conservative Party to support her motion, but it does point out that PC MP Monte McNaughton submitted a private members' bill earlier this year which would require municipalities to conduct referendums on the controversial issue before the process goes along any further.
The Ontario Liberal Party --- via the OLG, which it governs --- has made it quite clear that it does not support the idea of municipalities conducting referendums to truly find out if residents actually want full-blown casino expansion in their own backyards.
(With files from the Hamilton Spectator)