A day after announcing that he is resigning from his post in the City of Vaughan, veteran Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara has commented on the crisis the Ontario horse-racing industry is facing due to the decision by the Ontario Liberals to scrap the highly-sucessful slots-at-racetracks program. “I am hopeful, as we revisit this issue, we will take some amending steps that will ensure a strong horse-racing industry in this province,” Sorbara said.
Sorbara’s comments came during a radio interview with Paul and Carol Mott on The Motts Show. Carol didn’t beat around the bush when she broached the highly controversial subject with the outgoing Sorbara, a former Ontario Finance Minister who has been part of the provincial legislature for no less than 21 years.
“It’s the whole slots-at-racetracks program, and I think the government made a huge mistake here in cancelling that program,” Carol said. “It has been doing such great things for the province and for the industry.” Paul quickly followed, stating, “Well, call it for what it is. It was an idiot move on the part of the government. No, really.”
Preparing for a retort from Sorbara, Carol said, “Honestly, I don’t say [the Ontario Liberals] make ‘idiot moves’ too often, but this one was a big, big, big ‘boo-boo.’”
“Carol, I understand that,” Sorbara said, “and I’ve been working on this issue since Day 1.” Sorbara then carefully stated, “Let me put it this way: I am hopeful, as we revisit this issue, we will take some amending steps that will ensure a strong horse-racing industry in this province.”
Sorbara then stated, “I understand what was in mind when the initiatives were taking place were under very severe financial constraints. We are having another ‘look-see.’ I just got off the phone a while ago with (transition panel member) John Wilkinson and I’m hopeful, given the information that he’s putting together and the consultations that he’s having. Don’t give up hope.”
Sorbara also acknowledged the vocal response of Ontario horse-racing industry participants during the crisis, and ensured that all of the industry participants’ feedback has been hitting its mark.
“I think I can safely say that your voice and the voice of others are having an impact, and I know that the committee is doing very, very good work,” Sorbara said. “I’m not sure what the end result will be, but my counsel has been, from Day 1: Let us do what is necessary to make sure that we continue to have a strong horse-racing industry. And it’s not for those with deep pockets, but it is for the thousands of people that work on farms and look after horses, so all I can tell you is that we’re working on it.”