A former member of parliament has launched a campaign with an aim of preventing the Ontario (Canada) government headed by Dalton McGuinty from going on with its plans of removing slots machines from provincial horse racing tracks in 2013. According to the former liberal Member of Parliament such as move will only result in taking people from “dignity to poverty”.
Dennis mills, as former MP for Danforth up to 2004, wants the province wants the government to review its policy regarding its stance on slots machines. Mr. Mills has instituted a campaign to apply pressure to the government, some of the measures taken include, launching an official website with stories of horsemen who are concerned about losing their source of income. He will also put up around 100 billboards around Toronto around Toronto to rally members of the public to join his campaign.
Asked why he chose to select his campaign in the city of Toronto, he had the following response,
“Because as Toronto Goes, so does the country,”
Slot machines in racing tracks are one of the causalities in the aim of cutting a $15 billion budget deficit in the province of Ontario. 14 years ago, the province of Ontario entered an agreement with the seventeen tracks. The deal was estimated to be worth around $345 million annually to the racing industry. The main purpose of the agreement was to shield the horseracing from wagering shortfalls on slots machines as people preferred to bet on slot machines rather than on horses. If this agreement ends, the horse racing industry will be in disarray.
The president of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Glenn Sikura has expressed worries on the impeding changes.
“The horse industry as we know it will come to an end,” said the president.
Changes already effected
Following the budget speech by the finance minister, the Ontario lottery and Gaming Corporation has effected some changes. The first step was to close three racetracks: Fort Erie, Sarnia, and Windsor. The result of this was that 560 employee were left unemployed. The Ontario lottery gaming corporation said that this was a plan of eliminating “underperforming” facilities with an aim of “modernizing” gambling to eliminate the deficit currently facing the state of Ontario.
Mr. Mills will kick off his campaign on Friday to coincide with the start of the $1 million Queen’s plate. Mr. Mills is in the opinion that the government is of the opinion that the government has its opportunities wrong as it aims to reduce the deficit as the contracts have provided the government with over a billion dollars in revenue since it was launched. Mr. Mills hopes to attract the support of urbanites, as they are more interested in the game. Mr. Mills’s passion for racing is inspired by the fact that he comes from a racing family with his father having been the owner of a couple of thoroughbred horses and he too owns some horses. He says that his campaign in motivated by thousand of horse owners who toil in hayfields week in week out, and such a move will be disastrous to them. According to Mr. Mills, the total number of such people is 50,000 and they are not wealthy people as they make an average income of $20,000 to $80,000 per year.
So far, he has raised only $40,000 for the purpose of the campaign. He personally has contributed $15,000 for the campaign. The website will be launched tomorrow (Friday).