Today PC Critic for Horse Racing Randy Pettapiece slammed the government over its apparent decision to remove the slots from Ajax Downs. The move would likely spell the end of Quarter Horse racing in Ontario and put 1,700 jobs at risk.
“This government’s record on horse racing and the rural economy is a total disaster,” said Pettapiece during a Question Period exchange. “Let’s not forget: these are the same Liberals who secretly plotted to ‘go to zero dollars for horse racing.’ It’s the same Liberals who ripped apart the Slots at Racetracks program, knowing it could mean 23,000 job losses and 27,000 dead horses.”
The decision, which was revealed during a Peterborough Examiner interview with agriculture minister Jeff Leal, has also drawn strong criticism from the Town of Ajax. Mayor Steve Parish said last Friday that local Liberal MPP Joe Dickson has “given up by writing a 2-page letter to prepare us for [the] imminent announcement that Ajax Casino will close.” This follows a recently uncovered April 2015 letter in which Dickson stated his support for moving the slots from Ajax to Pickering.
Ajax Council released a statement last month seeking an apology from the Premier or Minister of Finance and requesting that the decision be left until after the election. Pettapiece expressed his strong support for their demands.
“I support Ajax Council’s demand that the government defer any decision until after the June election,” said the MPP. “Will [the minister] do the right thing and apologize to the Town of Ajax and horse people across the province?”