The final report by the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel has been delivered to the Minister of Agriculture, but the Minister has refused to say when the report will be released to the public.
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece believes there is no good reason to keep it under wraps.
“By cancelling the Slots at Racetracks program, the Liberals jeopardized tens of thousands of jobs, including many in Perth-Wellington,” said Pettapiece. “We need to know the full effect of their decision, and that’s why the Minister of Agriculture should immediately release the full report.
The interim report was released August 24.
Pettapiece said he would have wanted to question the Minister directly about the issue, but Premier Dalton McGuinty unilaterally shut down the legislature without providing a date that it will reconvene.
“It’s clear the Liberals just wanted to escape tough questions about cancelled gas plants and their failed economic policies,” said Pettapiece. “But that doesn’t mean they can just put those issues, or other important issues like horseracing, on hold.”
On August 14, Pettapiece, along with Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott, revealed that government had already made up its mind to kill the horse-racing industry, even before it received an economic analysis.
With strong support from Pettapiece and a majority of MPPs, the legislature passed a Progressive Conservative motion on August 30 in support of the industry. That motion called on the Auditor General to review the OLG’s new gaming plans, specifically referencing their effect on the Ontario horse-racing industry.
Pettapiece is not optimistic that the Liberals will respect the will of the legislature on that motion, especially now that they have shut down the legislature.
“I’m concerned about the people whose livelihoods depend on a strong horse-racing industry,” said Pettapiece. “They deserve to see the full report, and they deserve to see their elected representatives at Queen’s Park, working on their behalf. That can’t wait until the end of a Liberal leadership race.”