News from the Office of Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
Posted October 18th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Fort Erie/Niagara – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was in Fort Erie this past Tuesday, October 17th to watch the final race of the season at the Fort Erie Racetrack; and to join Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop, track officials and Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates to discuss the long-term financial security of the horseracing industry in the Niagara region.
“The track is vital to Fort Erie’s economy,” said Horwath. “We need to make sure that there are enough race days to keep the industry healthy. The Wynne Liberals allowed problematic new stabling policies to hurt Fort Erie – and it’s incumbent on them to fix that before this track is devastated, jobs are lost and the local economy suffers.”
Earlier this year, Woodbine Racetrack introduced a new policy regarding the stabling of horses at their track, following changes by the Wynne Liberals that gave Woodbine the power to dictate unfair terms to horse racers. Now, all horses stabled at Woodbine can only race at other tracks twice a season, meaning that horses are being forced to stay and race almost exclusively at Woodbine, which has cost the Fort Erie operation nearly $500,000 this year in missed revenues.
“The Wynne Liberals must put an immediate end to Woodbine Entertainment’s unfair stabling policy and make sure that Fort Erie track has a seat at the table when it comes to the future of racing in Ontario,” said Gates.
Since the Liberal government’s short-sighted decision to cancel the Slots At Racetracks Program in 2012, the industry has been suffering. Transition funding has not allowed for any long-term planning and the alliance created by the Liberal government to distribute the transition funding includes only eight race tracks – excluding the Fort Erie track.
“We need stability and sustainability in the industry. Ultimately, we need more race horses,” said Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop. “To do that, the government can’t permit one track to dictate policy to the disadvantage of another. That defeats the objective of developing a sustainable horse racing industry in Ontario – something that Fort Erie is committed to.”
“In Fort Erie and across the province, families are depending on racetracks for jobs and communities are counting on them to have an economic impact on the community,” said Horwath. “The NDP will protect this important tradition and fight for horseracing to continue in Fort Erie.”
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