The Liberal Record on Horse Racing Dead Horses and Lost Jobs

Today, the Liberals will be making an announcement at Flamboro Downs aimed at saving the horse racing industry they helped to destroy. Kathleen Wynne and her Ministers have been on an election spending tour this week, writing cheques they know will bounce. This week alone Kathleen Wynne’s promised $4 billion in new spending.

Rural Ontario knows the damage the Liberals have done to the horse racing industry and will see through their political games. The Liberals will say and promise anything to stay in power.

In 2012, the Liberal Government cancelled the Slots at Racetracks Program (SARP), which devastated the horse racing industry. As a result of this decision, horse breeders are taking senior Liberals to court. 

Court documents show the Liberals were prepared for the “collapse” of the horse racing industry – the loss of 23,000 jobs, and 27,000 dead horses. John Wilkinson, a former Liberal cabinet minister and point-person for the file, said the plan would “give us an advantage in the byelection by wedging” the opposition leaders.

Ted McMeekin, the MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and a cabinet minister at the time, refused to testify in this court case.

Highlights from the Court Documents: 

“We met with McKinsey, hired by finance. They confirmed under their wildly optimistic best case scenario (ie no collapse of the industry), we are looking at 13,000 job losses and 16,000 euthanized horses between sep 4 and dec 31. Collapse (which we think is what will actually happen) is 23,000 job losses and 27,000 dead horses. The lawsuits coming our way will add up to $500 million and you will be lucky to settle for $250 million.”

  • John Wilkinson, former Liberal Cabinet Minister

“….and give us an advantage in the byelections by wedging both Tim and Andrea.” 

  • John Wilkinson, former Liberal Cabinet Minister

“The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I might still be here when the entire Slots at Racetracks program is either slashed brutally, or purse pooling and yearly ‘grants’ based on yearly applications gets rid of the notion that horsemen have of slot money being ‘their’ money.”

  • Policy Advisor, Gaming Policy Branch, Ministry of Finance

“Meeting with Premier just ended. He was inclined to go to $0 for horse racing.”

  • Karim Bardeesy, Director of Policy and Research, Office of the Premier