Racing Discussed At Queen's Park

Published: November 21, 2016 11:52 am EST

On Wednesday, November 16, Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa reiterated the Ontario Liberal Government’s support for the provincial horse racing industry during question period in the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

Minister Sousa’s comments came after a pair of questions from New Democratic Party MPP Taras Natyshak, addressed to the acting Premier.

"The member opposite and all of us in this House recognize the importance of the horse racing industry as an economic industry in the province of Ontario," said Sousa. "And we want to maintain stability and growth within the industry and that is why we made a commitment to a long-term sustainability of horse racing in the province, recognizing as well to maintain the viability of some of those tracks.

"Now, Woodbine, as a service provider, would be enabling us to provide for some of those deliveries. We haven't yet determined what those will be, but those discussions are underway with all the tracks and all those stakeholders that are engaged within this process.

"It is critical for us to continue providing a venue, a source, an enablement of providing some of that assistance to the racing community, to the breeders and to ensure its viability. We are working closely to determine the best avenue to go forward, including governance."

Following these comments, Natyshak then asked, given how the first plans for modernization and horse racing were scrapped, "Why should rural Ontarians believe the Premier's latest plan for horse racing will be any better?

"Actually, I agree with the member opposite. We want to ensure that all members of the horse racing community are engaged. We want to ensure transparency and governance overseeing some of that development. We want to ensure they're actually there prior to Woodbine as a service provider of the funding. It's why we do have a group with the Ontario racing community engaged within this...and I would like very much to have engagement of all those concerned to ensure that the viability and the use of funds is going to where it's supposed to be, and to the horses, and that's to the viability and sustainability of this community."