Finance Minister Dwight Duncan continues to publicly downplay the importance of the horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario, along with the number of jobs that would be impacted by ending the Slots at Racetracks Program.
Duncan claims ‘nobody believes’ 60,000 Ontarians are employed by the horse racing and breeding industry. Apparently Minister Duncan isn’t consulting with Ministry of Finance officials, who disagree with his position.
The Ministry of Finance noted in the 2004 Ontario budget that “20 per cent of gross revenue from slot machines at racetracks is provided to promote the economic growth of the horse-racing industry. Since 1998, this initiative has preserved and enhanced over 60,000 jobs in Ontario’s horse-racing industry, providing over $1.1 billion to a key component of the Province’s agricultural sector.”
A number of other studies conducted for industry and government have also confirmed this number.
“The Minister of Finance is in the process of killing an entire industry in Ontario with a move that will cost the treasury $1.1 billion, and it appears he isn’t even consulting his own bureaucrats before making such irresponsible statements. If he did, he would know there are 60,000 Ontarians who rely on horse racing and breeding for their employment,” said Sue Leslie, President of the the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.
“ Surely four separate economic studies and his own Ministry of Finance confirmation of 60,000 jobs should be sufficient evidence to convince the minister it is his facts that are wrong.”