“I see that the halls of Queen’s Park and the halls of City Hall are swarming with casino lobbyists. We keep hearing about change here at Queen’s Park, but what people in Ontario continue to see is the same status quo. We see a government that continues to put well-connected insiders before the interests of the people of this province.”
The above statement was delivered by Tuesday, March 5 in the Ontario Legislature by New Democratic Party MPP Jonah Schein. His comments, which were directed at Ontario's minority Liberal leadership, came just hours after an article by The Globe and Mail appeared to support his sentiments.
The report by The Globe states that MGM lobbyists were very busy in the month of February, holding private and impromptu meetings with some of Toronto's key decision makers. In the very near future, Toronto Councillors will be deciding on whether or not a downtown casino is what the citizens of Canada's most populated city want --- and, if MGM has its way, the Canadian National Exhibition grounds will turn from a historic, family-oriented location to a mini Las Vegas.
The Globe article outlines how often and when MGM and Cadillac Fairview lobbyists met with Toronto Councillors in regard to the casino operator's much-coveted new project. Coincidently, the topic of Councillor transparency also hit the press Tuesday, as a report by The Toronto Star has shined light on the fact that a pair of Toronto Councillors have put forth a motion which would force Councillors' daily schedules to become strictly documented and publicly available.
The Globe story has quoted Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday as saying that he is worried the effect casino lobbyists can ultimately have on Council, if the matter does in fact get to the point where a Council vote takes place.
“I’ve seen lobbyists affect decisions at council before,” Holyday was quoted as saying. “I know how these things work. People try to be your friend and make it difficult for you to deny their requests.”
Listed below is a release from the Ontario NDP Party which summarizes MPP Schein's comments to the Ontario Liberals during Question Period on Tuesday, March 5.
Give Ontarians A Say On Casinos
QUEEN’S PARK – Today in question period, Davenport MPP Jonah Schein urged Premier Wynne to hold referendums in municipalities being considered for casinos.
“Toronto city hall is filled with casino lobbyists who are pushing for a downtown casino. In fact, Toronto’s deputy mayor is so concerned, he’s asked to ban casino lobbyists from city hall,” said Schein.
“This decision should be made by the people of Toronto and it should not be made behind closed doors. Speaker, will the Premier agree to hold referendums on casinos so that people can have their say?” asked Schein.
Many Ontarians are concerned that professional casino lobbyists with wealthy corporate backing will unfairly slant the decision making process in favour of casino developers if the question is not taken to a referendum.
“I see that the halls of Queen’s Park and the halls of City Hall are swarming with casino lobbyists. We keep hearing about change here at Queen’s Park, but what people in Ontario continue to see is the same status quo. We see a government that continues to put well-connected insiders before the interests of the people of this province,” explained Schein.
“When it comes to casinos, the Premier is saying the exact same thing as her predecessor. Even Mike Harris respected people enough to let them have a say by referendum before imposing a casino on their community,” said Schein, asking, “Why won’t this Premier agree to hold referendums on casinos so that Ontarians can have their say?”
In my school years many years
In my school years many years ago a trillion dollars was unheard of! Does anybody else realize our provincial debt is closing in on one third of a trillion dollars. This is only a guesstimate on my part as the true number could be much higher? Another word not used in my youth was corruption except for organized criminals like John Dillinger, now we are being overrun with casino lobbyists with governments. Are they here to pillage or help Ontario reduce this unsustainable debt load? It appears the Liberal government is already involved, so now the city officials are being swarmed to go against the wishes of their taxpaying citizens. Thank goodness there are still some officials who stand up for we the citizenry no matter what is offered! Am I concerned, you bet!
Just another twisted tale to
Just another twisted tale to go along with the OLG's new gaming strategy.
Change the Lottery & Gaming Act to remove the referendum requirement ... remove Government transparency, as in no justification required ... then allow American Casino interests to coerse and intimidate City Councilors as they wish.
As I've said before, no one in the Liberal party has the "balls" to stand up to Godfrey, Tannenbaum and the American Casino operators. What a mess!
What is the problem? Do as
What is the problem? Do as the lobbyists do, bribe, er ah "contribute" to the politicos campaign fund pool!!
ITS EXTREMELY ENCOURAGING TO
ITS EXTREMELY ENCOURAGING TO SEE AN MPP CALLING FOR A REFERENDUM. ICANNOT FIGURE OUT HOW THE LIBERALS TOOK THIS OUT OOF THE OLG RULES WITHOUT HAVING A VOTE IN PARLIMENT??? TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION I IMAGINE KATHLEEN WYNNE WILL HAVE TO CONSULT WITH HER VENTRILOQUIST