Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2012
Arnott, Pettapiece urge Government to act on horse racing report
(Wellington-Halton Hills) – The Liberal Government needs to act quickly on the report by the Horse
Racing Industry Transition Panel and clearly indicate what recommendations it intends to implement, say
MPPs Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton Hills) and Randy Pettapiece (Perth-Wellington).
“For months, the Government has left the horse racing industry hanging, with no idea of what the future
holds,” said Mr. Pettapiece. “They need some certainty so that they can begin planning for the future.”
“The Government needs to come forward and clearly outline what action it will take on this report,”
agreed Mr. Arnott. “Further delays may kill horse racing in Ontario.”
On March 14, with no prior consultation, the Liberal Government announced that it was cancelling the
Slots at Racetracks Program (SARP), effective March 31, 2013.
It later set up the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel to provide recommendations to help the
industry “adjust” to the new reality. The Panel’s final report was released on October 30.
While the report did not recommend the reinstatement of SARP, it noted that it “could not find a single
example of a viable horse racing industry without some form of public support.” (pg. 1)
The panel also reiterated the urgent need for the Government to act: “A sustainable horse racing industry
is possible, but only if the Government takes appropriate action now.” (pg. 24)
However, Mr. Arnott and Mr. Pettapiece believe that the report may be too little too late.
“The Government should have consulted with the industry before it announced that it was ending the
Slots at Racetracks Program,” Mr. Arnott argued. “These reforms can’t be implemented overnight and
we’re quickly running out of time.”
“This report should never have been necessary,” Mr. Pettapiece agreed. “If the government wanted to
change the industry, they should have consulted and worked with the industry in the first place. Instead,
they just cut the legs out from under it.”
Mr. Arnott and Mr. Pettapiece are not optimistic that the horse-racing industry is very high on the radar
of a Government that has prorogued the legislature and is beginning a leadership race that is set to take
“The House should be sitting to debate this report,” said Mr. Arnott. “Instead the Legislature is
prorogued. At a time when we need action, we have a lame-duck Government that is running out the
“We need a Liberal leadership candidate to step forward and commit to saving the industry by stating
what recommendations they would implement,” Mr. Arnott continued. “However, the new leader likely
won’t be sworn in until February, and by then it may be too late.”
Mr. Pettapiece agreed, saying, “The industry is running out of time. Its very survival is at stake, and we
need to know if the government has any intention of acting on this report or if it’s just going to gather
In August, Mr. Arnott and Mr. Pettapiece released an economic analysis examining the impact of the
cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks program which was prepared for cabinet. However, the analysis
was dated March 14, 2012 – two days after the Government announced it was cancelling the program.
The Liberal government has yet to commit to any of the report’s recommendations.
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